As part of our ESC project we are maintaining and developing community spaces. The centre of our town, Shipka, was fairly recently developed to include a main plaza with a stage where numerous events take place throughout the year, particularly in the summer months. Surrounding this area is a green space with several beautiful mature deciduous and evergreen trees, such as Horse chestnut – Aesculus hippocastanum, Linden – Tillia sp- and Fir – Abies sp. Recent renovations to the park have included making pathways, planting more trees and installing new play equipment for children. It has a relaxed yet formal feel to it. We had an idea to design a polyculture for the park that will attract a range of butterflies, add a splash of colour to the area and appeal to children.
- The main function – to attract butterflies throughout the summer months, so we’re looking for overlapping and extended bloom times to maximize the butterflies’ visits to the polyculture.
- Hardy to zone 6 or lower
- Drought tolerant
- Low maintenance
- Predominantly sun-loving plants
|Ruxandra chose to place the Oregano on the northerly aspect, as it can tolerate more shade than the other plants.|
Buddleia davidii – Butterfly bush
Phlomis russeliana – Jeruselum/Turkish Sage
Lavandula angastafolia – Lavender
Echinacea purpurea – Echinacea, Coneflower
Origanum vulgare – Oregano
Main Function: To provide a screen/boundary/privacy in the summer months
Secondary Function: To produce some edible fruits
- The main function – to provide a screen throughout the summer months. We wanted plants that hedge well and can grow to 1.8m in height to provide privacy
- Hardy to zone 6 or lower
- Production of some edible fruits
- Drought tolerant species
- Sun loving
- Tolerant of pruning
Elaeagnus umbellata – Autumn Olive
Overview: A large deciduous shrub growing 4.5m high and 4.5m wide and hardy to zone 3.
Tolerates part shade and is very drought tolerant. Branches are often thorny with leaves that are bright green and silvery beneath. Yellowish white, fragrant flowers, are produced in May-June, followed by rounded silvery brown (ripening red) fruits in Sep-Oct that are edible. Nitrogen fixing. This plant is considered weedy in the U.S.
Chaenomeles speciosa – Japanese Quince
Overview: A thorny deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub usually growing to about 2m tall and generally exhibiting a rounded outline, but can be variable in form. Hardy to zone 4. The plants establish a very dense crown with a tangled jumble of branches which are either spiny or with spurs. The flowers come before the leaves and are usually red, but may be white or pink. The fruit is fragrant and looks similar to a small apple although some cultivars have much larger pearish shaped fruits.
Cornus mas – Cornelian Cherry
|Cornus mas in late winter/early spring. It produces one of the first flowers to appear in the garden in late February|
The Benefits of Propagating from Seed: When we first started growing shrubs from seed it was pleasantly surprising to see how quickly they establish. In our experience with growing Cornus mas and some nitrogen fixing shrubs, seeds germinating in the spring can establish well and be ready to plant out in the autumn of the same year (subject to species hardiness and, of course, the weather conditions in a given year). The following spring after autumn planting, we practice formative pruning to encourage the shrubs to become denser and by the third summer after sowing, we’ve recorded growth of up 80cm high and 60cm wide (specifically for Elaeagnus angustifolia). The growth we have witnessed is from our own stock have, in some instances, outperformed established 6 year old plants we have growing in the garden, purchased from a commercial nursery.
|Cornus mas grown from seed planted into the hedge|
|Ruxandra and Hekim parting the sheet mulch layers|
|Ru planting a Japanese Quince|
|Established Cornus mas and Chaenomeles speciosa shrubs, blending well together in the home garden|