Flower of the month- Pelargonium hirtum

p. hirtum sketch latest

Pelargonium hirtum has lovely purplish magnolia to pink flowers which attracts butterflies and bees, the leaves are finely divided and hairy with many leaflets which resembles a carrot leaf and is slightly aromatic.
It is a semi succulent shrub with fleshy upright stems which grows to about 30 cm in height with a bushy growth & the delicate flower stalks contain 3-8 flowers.
P hirtum grows well in pots and as ground cover, in rock gardens or/and on sandy soils in full sun to part shade in acid neutral type soil.
This plant is native to the Eastern Cape where it grows among stone ledges, slopes and sandy areas.

Pelargonium hirtum also known as the fine leaved pelargonium has been grown in the gardens of Europe since the late 1700s.
The name hirtum is derived from the Latin word “ hirtus” meaning shaggy, hairy or with thick growth, this refers to the hairy leaves of this plant.

Destination- The gardens of Thijsse hof


Photo by Peter hall-unsplash.com

Thijsse Hoff is a wildlife garden in Bloemendaal within the municipality and town in Northern Holland and is one of the oldest wildlife gardens in Europe and around the world. 

This garden was designed by Leonard Springer a landscape architect, who created a natural environment & vegetation to help preserve the native wildlife in the area, Also Kees Sipkes who owned a nursery near the city of Haarlem planted native plants in the gardens.
It was given to Jac. P. Thijsse as a 60th birthday gift by his friends in 1925 who wanted to give him a garden which he truly wished for a long period of time.
Jacobus Pieter Thysse was a botanist and conservationist who founded the society of the preservation of nature monuments in the Netherlands which purchases, protects and maintains nature reserves in the country.
The Jac P. Thijsse wildlife park in Amstelveen, Northern Holland was also named after him, he also wrote several garden journals, magazines and two books.
He planned to name the gardens Frederik Van Eeden after the Dutch botanist but was changed to Thijisse Hof as he disliked his friends alternative chosen name of the garden of Eeden.

The wildlife garden consists of many types of vegetation which include:

The dune woodland- has a lovely natural habitat filled with native shrubs plants and trees such as Yew, hazel, bird cherry (prunus padus), European beech (Fagus sylvatica), but mostly consists of oak trees (quercus robur). Below the trees are many flowers which bloom at different seasons of the year such as bell bells, primrose, bird in the bush, leopards bane and wood anemone. Also the delicate snowdrops and Spring snowflake especially looks beautiful in Winter. The woodland also attracts woodland wildlife and birds.

The dune scrub- is a scrub land that is filled with woody shrubs and other types that include grasses and herbs on Calcareous soil, The garden contains shrubs such as the Spin tree, hawthorn, sea buckthorn, buckthorn and barberry.

The pond is at the centre point of the gardens which is surrounded by natural grasses, shrubs and trees such as mare’s tail and spiked water milfoil, there is also fringed water lilies growing in the pond. This area of the garden has many wildlife including birds, dragonflies and other insects. There is also a statue of Thijisse Hof Near to the pond.

The dune slack is an area for plants which grows near or on surrounding ground water, these include yellow loosestrife, meadowsweet and Southern march orchid.

The dry dune grassland has tall dry grasses and wildflowers in Spring/Summer which include salad burnet, knapweed and field scabious.

The coppice- is a woodland with trees that have been cut back to ground level.

Creating a Wildlife Garden


Photo by Vincent Van Zalinge-unsplash.com

A wildlife garden can bring beauty and tranquillity to your surrounds with butterflies, birds, bees, and other wildlife.

Bringing wildlife to your garden has many benefits, we have a better connection with nature where we can learn to co-exist with the natural environment and encourage insects such as butterflies, dragonflies, bees, birds, reptiles and amphibians to your surroundings while creating a peaceful and relaxing retreat.
Making a wildlife garden supports the local flora and fauna while providing them with a nature inspired habitat such as a sanctuary for solitary bees, ladybirds, & beetles made out of bamboo canes, old logs, bricks, twigs and straw or a wildflower meadow, a rock garden, a pond, bog garden or a water feature to encourage frogs, birds and dragonflies.
Flowers & nectar rich plants not only look attractive in the garden but can also appeal to insect pollinators such as bees, butterflies and moths which collect pollen and for birds which eat seeds and berries.

A bird house, bird table, hanging feeders or a bird bath can also help encourage birds to your surroundings especially if they are close to the house where you can view them from your window.

Trees, shrubs, hedging and wall climbers are also great for providing a hiding place or an nesting area for birds and also lizards.
Earthworms are great for aerating and improving the quality of the soil and can also provide food for various wildlife.
Leaving in weeds such as dandelions, daisies, thistles, poppies, bell flowers, doves-foot, bind-weed and wild carrot not only encourages bees, butterflies and other insects but can look amazing in a wild flower meadow with long grasses in a small area of your garden or mixed with plants within a raised border, Ants are also good for gathering and dispersing seeds.

Adding a variety of different shaped flowers to your garden can encourage several types of insects.
Flower shapes include tubular, bell, funnel, saucer, rosette and funnel shapes which come in many colours and sizes.
Some bees, wasps, moths and butterflies have long tongues known as proboscis which feed on pollen and nectar and can reach far into the flower, Some flower types are also only pollinated by hummingbirds.

Other ideas to encourage wildlife include: Creating a home for solitary bees, creating a wild flower meadow, bog garden, water feature or a pond, attracting more butterflies and creating a haven for birds.