Ilex aquifolium is the commonest holly we have in the UK; plants can be found growing both in the wild and as cultivated, garden plants.  This holly species can be used as container plants, hedging, or specimen trees.  Ilex aquifolium is native to West Asia, North Africa, Southern and Western Europe, including the UK (Ilex aquifolium is absent from the Outer Hebrides, the Shetland Isles, and Orkney).

Hylotelephium spectabile are hardy herbaceous perennials that bloom in late summer and early autumn; their flowers are very attractive to bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects.  Many gardeners know this plant by its common name – Sedum – but Hylotelephium spectabile is this plant’s up-to-date, botanical name.

These plants will positively thrive in sandy, silty and naturally well-drained soils; Hylotelephium spectabile love to grow in bright and sunny areas. 

Inula hookeri is a clump forming, herbaceous perennial from China.  I love daisies and I adore these sunny yellow flowers and I’m very fond of Inula hookeri’s super soft leaves.  Next time you see this plant, reach out and stroke a leaf, it’s soft and furry.  I appreciate this plant because its flowers attract bees and butterflies to my garden. 

Carrot ‘Short n Sweet’ (Daucus carota ‘Short n Sweet’) is a brand new carrot from Burpee Europe that has been especially bred to cope with poor and heavy soils.  These carrots produce orange-coloured, small sized carrots that tend to produce carrots measuring up to 10cm (4 inches) in length.

I’ve enjoyed growing ‘Short n Sweet’ in my garden.  I’ve found ‘Short n Sweet’ to be superb carrot to grow in containers. 

Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (Dictwix) is an award-winning rose that was launched in 2021.  This superb new rose was bred by Colin Dickson, from Dickson Roses, in Newtownards, Northern Ireland.

Roses UK unveiled ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ as the winner of the prestigious Rose of the Year 2022 Competition in celebrations at Stockton Bury Gardens, in Herefordshire.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a floribunda rose. 

I love to write about really easy to grow, great-tasting vegetables, so I’m truly excited to tell you about this type of Texsel Greens!  Texsel Greens ‘Garlic Kale’ (also known by its botanical name Brassica carinata) is an incredibly useful, edible plant that produces delicious tasting, garlic-flavoured leaves.  ‘Garlic Kale’ makes a lovely addition to salads, sandwiches, soups, and other dishes. 

Allium scorodoprasum ‘Art’ is an unusual looking Allium that produces small ‘flower heads’; each flower is made up of a collection of indigo coloured bulbils, interspersed with tiny mauve flower buds.  The flowers are held on thin, wiry stems that sway with the breeze.

Flower arrangers will enjoy Allium scorodoprasum ‘Art’ flowers.  These blooms last well in the garden, and they’ll give longevity and interest to both fresh and dried floral arrangements.

Allium cristophii is a superb species of Allium that can be seen growing as a wildflower in Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Iran.  If you’re looking for plants to provide pollen and nectar for insects, you’ll be happy to hear that Allium cristophii flowers attract a wide range of bees and other pollinating insects, and this Allium species simply thrives in the UK!

If you’re looking to grow plants for bees and butterflies, you might be interested in this Allium.  ‘Gladiator’ attracts a wide range of bees and pollinating insects – I am certain that this plant will fulfil your requirements and may even surpass your expectations!

‘Gladiator’ Alliums produce tall stems that reach up to around 1.2m (4ft) tall.  Each stem holds one spherical inflorescence that’s formed from hundreds of small star-shaped amethyst flowers. 

Allium ‘Globemaster’ is a stunning Allium with purple coloured, spherical flower heads, made up of many individual star-shaped flowers.  One of the taller Alliums, ‘Globemaster’ pops its head above lower growing plants.  These gorgeous globular flowers are held on tall sturdy stems that are usually resilient enough to withstand the worst of the wind and weather without needing any support.

This is a wonderful plant to grow in a wildlife garden; Globemaster’s tall purple flowers produce an abundance of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. 

Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora’ are statement plants with large vibrant orange coloured, pendulous flowers that really create impact in the garden.  Often referred to as Crown Imperials, these bulbous perennials form tall plants that reach up to around 1m (3.2ft) tall.

I’ve grown my Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora’ in large containers of peat-free compost.  I’ve found these Fritillaries to be strong and sturdy plants that haven’t required any staking or support. 

Primula vulgaris are low growing, perennials that form basal rosette shaped plants, made up of beautifully textured, wrinkled, obovate leaves.  These small plants are generally known as primroses.  Primula vulgaris are popular wild flowers; they’re often found growing in gardens, the countryside, and in urban areas across Europe.  Primroses are hardy; plants will happily survive temperatures down as low as -20C (-4F), and probably lower.

Narcissus ‘Art Design’ is a Double Daffodil Cultivar, from Division 4 of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Daffodil Classification System.  These full flowered daffodils produce blooms that open first as soft yellow and white flowers, which change colour as they age.  In ageing, these daffodil flowers become a white and a soft caramel colour, with a hint of peach.

If you’re looking to grow plants for bees and butterflies then this isn’t a daffodil for you, as Narcissus ‘Art Design’ blooms are double and they aren’t accessible to insects. 

Narcissus ‘Pink Wonder’ is a Split-Corona Daffodil Cultivar, from Division 11a of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Daffodil Classification System.

This daffodil’s flowers change colour.  Narcissus ‘Pink Wonder’ flowers open with white petals and a central split corona that’s caramel-orange in colour; the blooms age and the split corona pretty rapidly changes from orange to a peachy-pink colour.

Narcissus ‘Pink Wonder’ is a standard height daffodil with flowering stems of around 40cm (16inches) tall. 

Narcissus ‘Bright Jewel’ is a brightly coloured daffodil with yellow petals and a red-orange trumpet.  This is a really vibrantly coloured flower that stands out across the garden.

I love scented flowers, so I was happy to discover that Narcissus ‘Bright Jewel’ produces lightly scented flowers with a delicate, yet pleasing fragrance.  The scent has a definite hint of aniseed to its perfume – this aniseed character was something I was struck by, each time I encountered Narcissus ‘Bright Jewel’ in the garden.

‘Mild Cultivated’ rocket is a cultivated form of rocket that produces green leaves with a lovely fresh, yet mild flavour.  Rocket ‘Mild Cultivated’ foliage still has that lovely peppery rocket taste but the leaves don’t have any heat; these leaves are without the intensity of flavour possessed by other more commonly found rocket cultivars.  This is the ideal variety of rocket to grow for children or anyone who doesn’t enjoy hot, spicy flavours. 

Although watermelons can be grown very successfully outdoors in the UK (once all risk of frost has passed); I must tell you straight away that watermelon seeds need to be started off inside a glasshouse, polytunnel, or consevatory.  ‘Little Darling’ plants need to grow within the confines of a warm and protected environment until all risk of frost has passed (which is usually from late May to the middle of June, depending on where you garden – in the UK).

The Asparagus Pea (also known by the botanical name Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) is a small, decorative plant with a naturally low growing habit.  When I first heard of the Asparagus Pea, I was so excited by the very idea of this plant.  I can remember reading the description over and over: ‘a vegetable with a delicious taste that was somewhere between asparagus and pea’. 

Alpine strawberries or wild strawberries (also known by their botanical name Fragaria vesca) are small, low growing, plants that trail along the ground, spreading via runners; these pretty little plants can grow up to around 15cm (6 inches) tall.  I adore alpine strawberries!  These dainty little plants are utterly charming, with attractive leaves, delightful white flowers, and the delicious red strawberries they produce.

Spinach (also known by the botanical name Spinacia oleracea) is a tasty and fast growing, edible plant that is easily grown from seed.  This is a very versatile vegetable with an extended harvest period.  Spinach can be grown from seeds sown directly into large containers of good quality compost or seeds can be sown directly in the soil.  Spinach plants have a tendency to bolt; plants are most likely to go to seed if the weather is hot or if the plants’ soil or growing medium becomes too dry.