Nectar bars for Wildlife!
The great thing about gardening is that it’s not unusual to be given plants or cuttings from friends and neighbours; one of the first perennial plants that I planted in my garden was just one of those. It was a rooted cutting of Sedum spectabile, also known as Ice plant or Stonecrop. When it appears in spring it’s a tight light green mound of succulent fleshy leaves, until its stems starts spreading out forming terminal clusters of flower buds that will eventually open into mat of pink flowers, the perfect little landing pad for wildlife from summer to early autumn, extending that much needed nectar bar.
Since then my front and back gardens have gone through a lot of changes but my liking and enjoyment of sedums have grown from alpines/rockery plants to the chunkier herbaceous perennials. Once established they become great drought tolerant plants for poor well-drained soils in sunny sites as well as being an important plant in my long list for wildlife.
The green leafed ones like Sedum spectabile and ‘Mr Goodbud’ don’t particularly stand out until they come into flower, but there others with wonderfully interesting coloured foliage as well as flowers like Sedum telephium ‘Purple Emperor’ and ‘Matrona’.
Sedum ‘Mr Goodbud’ grows to about sixteen inches tall, it has green fleshy foliage and terminal clusters of light flower heads that will open out into mats of eye catching dark mauve flowers.
A very pretty one that has recently caught my attention is Sedum ‘Ice Ruffles’ with reddish purple stems, unusual green and cream variegated leaves that are crinkled and tinged with reddish purple on the outer edges. The creamy flower buds are followed by pretty pink flowers in summer.
Sedum telephium ssp. ruprechtii ‘Hab Gray’ is a superb variety for the front of a flower border, it stands at about a twelve inches high, with soft pinky-grey foliage and arching stems of creamy flowers from late summer to early autumn.