There is no doubt that wet habitats encourage wildlife to visit our gardens.
Native plants are regarded as the most wildlife friendly as they have been part of our country’s ecology since before the formation of the English Channel.
They are in tune with the needs of our wildlife but some are vigorous and not in scale with the more modern small-scale pond or garden.
Take the waterlily – only one waterlily is a British Native and that is a large white – any small pond will be over-run by this so smaller dwarf to medium white waterlilies should be used and will give the needed 50% surface cover.
The yellow Native Flag Iris can reach 5ft tall and is only suitable for a large pond or lake. Iris that are non Native will give you the foliage shape and function for emerging dragonfly but can be smaller in size at around 2ft tall.
Mentha aquatica is a strong growing rafting plant with runners that spread across the water that could overtake a small pond but the Non Native in the family – Mentha cervina has a similar flower head that attracts pollinators late in the season but is a clump forming plant that is much slower in its growth.
If you have a small pond or wildlife area try to combine the smaller growing Natives with some ornamental, non Natives and leave the larger growing Natives to the larger ponds.
If you want to purchase a Native Pond planting Scheme, Native Moist or Native Muddy Bog planting Schemes and are happy to allow us to add some Non Native plants that complement the seasonal spread of the Native varieties and/or use smaller growing varieties then please say so in ‘General Comments’ in ‘View basket’ on the way to ‘Checkout’.
The RHS has agreed with this mixed strategy in last years ‘Plants for Bugs‘ publication.
Visit our Tips and Advice page for more information.