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VIDEO: Planning an Insectary Garden
Posted on : July 6, 2018

In today’s video, Beverly is joined by Angela Chandler. Angela tells us about planning an insectary garden in your space.

[Beverly] Well, hi, Angela. Thanks for joining me today. – [Angela]

Hi, Beverly. It’s good to be in the garden today.

– I have to tell you, your classes, that you’ve done numerous times with us on insectary gardens have been such a great hit, and are such a big source of questions for our customers, especially those that like to grow vegetables and fruits or just enjoy the butterflies.

– Right. And it’s, kind of like, how do you get started and what do you do if you already have an existing garden in place?

– So, I decided we needed an insectary garden, with your help, here at the Arbor Gate.

– Well, I’m looking forward to it.

– This is going to be fun. So, I picked this garden here on the west side of Arbor Gate II. As you mentioned, it was an existing garden, so we did remove certain things, but, there’s a lot we left too. Because number one, I couldn’t do it. And number two, I think they would play very well with the insectary.

– Yeah, many of these plants have a great benefit to the insectary, either through the blooms or through the habitat.

– Right. You know, my favorite plant is whichever one I’m looking at, but I love the Heliopsis Summer Sun. It’s a garden staple here.

– Yeah. Dependable, beautiful color.

– Great cut flower. And then, of course, who can have a garden without shrimp plant?

– Yeah. And there’s so many wonderful shrimp plants to have. Lemon Sorbet has that beautiful soft color, and then the classic red that we’re all used to from grandmother’s garden.

– Exactly. And grandma’s plants never fail.

– They never do.

– And that’s why I left the althea , because everybody’s grandma had an althea.

– It is. It’s a southern staple.

– So, going through this garden, one reason I chose it was because it has so many different exposures. We’ve got a shady area, we’ve got our transitional sun to shade, and of course, being on the west side, it gets hammered.

– Right.

– By about 2:00 in the afternoon, which requires full sun plants.

– Yes. And this is almost the perfect environment for a complete insectary.

– So, one of the plants, also, that I left here was my Griffin Blue Buddleia. I think that’s one of the superstars of buddleias.

– It is. Dependable bloom all the time, very attractive, of course, to butterflies, but other insects that are seeking nectar and pollen will like it too.

– Another one that I left was the beautiful Jackie Grant Hibiscus.

– That is amazing. It’s the size of a dinner plate, literally.

– It is. It’s gorgeous. And of course, in this garden, we have our (inaudible) Changshou Kumquat…

– Changshou kumquat.

– … that we did together.

– Yes.

– So it’s important that he stay in place as well.

– Yeah. The blooms of citrus are always popular with pollinating insects.

– And you see how my little clumps of rain lilies are popping up everywhere.

– You know, I’ve said it many times. You can never have too many rain lilies. They, kind of, are a nice little surprise of color here and there, they bloom sporadically, and they’re very gentlemanly in the garden as well.

– They really are. So with your help, Angela, we made some selections that, I think, are going to be great in this garden.

– I do too. I’m looking forward to seeing them in place.

– I know. I can’t wait. So this spot, where you’re standing, in the morning, full shade. You can see the Walters and the pineapple guava overhead. As the sun comes across, it does get dappled light. It might get some in the afternoon, this Buddleia Griffin Blue’s going to help shade it, the althea. So, we needed a filtered light to dappled shade, bright shade plants for this location.

So, we had picked this gorgeous Pam’s Pink Turk’s Cap.

– This is a beauty.

– And you know it’s one of Greg’s selections, so we always have to plant plants for Greg.

– We do. You know, behind this, it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous.

– It’s going to play pretty off that. So, another one of my favorites, and that I think often gets overlooked is this Centratherum, or Brazilian Buttonbush. I’ve got it in my yard at home all the way from full sun to part shade.

– And, kind of, a non-stop bloomer all summer long.

– Oh yeah it is. It is no dead heading required, which is one of my favorite things. Another one for a shady garden that gives such a nice airy look, is this cat whiskers.

– And cat whiskers comes in white and blue, and this white’s going to look beautiful in front of Pam’s pink.

– So, in the shade, I always like to put brightly colored or light colored flowers, like light pink, white, lime green. So, we’ve got to pop this old-fashioned gorgeous yellow shrimp plant.

– Yes. It’s a good combination here. We have pink, we have white, we have a blue, purple, and now we have this little pop of yellow.

– This is looking good.

– I’m happy with this.

– So, as we transition across this area, we’re going to get into a lot more sun, and an intense afternoon sun in the heat. So, I thought of…also our white althea, that we might do some purple Monarda.

– Monarda, so lovely. Loved by many pollinators.

– And then, maybe off our stunning Griffin’s blue, we might pop in some red. We don’t have any red yet. Let’s give this some red of the dwarf porter weed.

– Sounds good.

– We got to be careful, make sure we get the dwarf. I love the purple and the coral, but they can be quite large in stature. So, we have to be a little bit careful with them. One of my all-time favorites too is… Do you notice how much I say that?

– That’s because you love flowers.

– Are the hyssop. And again, when you’re out working in the garden, this fragrance, it’s wonderful, it’s beautiful.

– And it’s so dependable.

– And of course, purple, another favorite. So, I’m going to stick it right here. So, as we’re walking, as you call them a path plant.

– That’s right. Things that you can brush that emit fragrance, make your hands smell good.

– And here’s another selection, bright orange. So, I thought that would look nice by our little Tuscan Sun heliopsis.

– It’s a great transition.

– Well, we’ve got some great cupheas here on the cart. Let’s step over here to our little cuphea corner. As we come this way, Angela, we’re going to get into an area that’s a whole lot more sun, a little more narrow, and I thought we might utilize some plants who were a little lower. But, this I wanted to point out, this is a Northwind Panicum.

– That’s beautiful grass.

– It’s a great grass because it’s so vertical in statute, and it never flops.

– And that lovely color.

– Isn’t it gorgeous?

– The wonderful thing about having grasses in the garden is that they’re a habitat for insects. It gives them a place to, kind of, hide from their predators, the birds and things like that, and it also gives them a place of shelter when we have bad weather. So, between the grasses and then the ground covers that are in this area, we’ve really created a good habitat here.

– Great. This is a little variegated phlox, and of course our little Nana Coreopsis. And back here, we have the thymes and the oregano, because you know I got to plant herbs everywhere.

– Of course. Herbs are a big part of the insectary.

– They really are. But, on this corner over here, as you see, it’s in full sun basically all day, and off of these pavers and with the rock, it’s really a hot spot. So, it’s a perfect place for our little cupheas.

– Yeah, they’ll take it. They take the hot baking sun. They don’t mind it. In fact, they prefer to have a little bit drier location, and it’s great color for that, because even though they take the hot, the colors are cool.

– That’s true. And I love all the different varieties now. This little dwarf, when you look at this flower close , it looks like a butterfly in itself.

– It’s just adorable.

– So, I’m going to place it on the point, because these are most delicate and dainty, and our gardener here will take care of it.

– That’s right.

– And from that, I thought, you know, there’s a new yellow one. Isn’t that stunning?

– That really is. That’s a very nice color for a cuphea.

– So, I’m going to put this behind her. And then, cupheas are these, as you recall, Mexican heathers, never were my favorite plants. But, they’ve come out with these new varieties now, where the flower seems larger, it’s more on the end of the stem, and it makes great color impact.

– It does, and they’re covered with butterflies almost all the time, and the bees are very fond of them.

– They really are, and they’re deer resistant.

– That’s good to know up here.

– That’s really good to know. So, I’m going to play off this yellow with the purple, and off the purple with the white. And you know, a lot of times, people think white’s not a color. It happens to be one of my favorites.

– I actually have been thoroughly enjoying white in the garden the last couple of years. One, it’s just… it kind of offsets everything else.

– It does.

– And it, sort of, just shines on its own.

– It adds coolness, it adds depth. And I’m not home often, but a lot, at night, and when I have… I do all white in my garden, so when I come home and it’s a full moon, the garden just shines. You can see all the flowers.

– There’s an elegance to that too.

– It is, it is. So, another one that we’ve got here is the ever-popular bat face.

– Bat face.

– And it gets a little taller than these standard low-growing cupheas. I’d say, what, 24, 30 inches?

– About 24, 30. But it does have a good mounding, sort of, tight habit.

– And who can resist this handsome face?

– They are adorable. That little pop of purple tongue at the end of the two bright red ears.

– Right, right. So, I’m going to place him over here, so he has plenty of room to grow and crawl. So, I’m so excited about this garden. I can’t wait to get started planting it.

– And it’s going to mature over time too. We can add annual herbs in here. Every once in awhile, when it’s seasonally appropriate, we can toss a packet of seed in here and let those vegetables go to seed. And the insects will be happy, and your garden will be better off for it.

– I can’t wait for the next season. Thank you so much, Angela.

– Thank you, Beverly.

Written by The Arbor Gate
The Arbor Gate staff enjoys contributing to the blog along with our talented writers. As much as we enjoy contributing to this blog, we are the first to admit that we’re much better with a shovel than a keyboard!

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