A few plant combinations stand out for me, aesthetically and functionally. This post is to make a record for myself to refer back to; otherwise, I will forget. It may be useful to you as well. Click on the photos for a larger image if you like.
The russian sage, new england aster, and creeping thyme serve the beneficial insects and pollinators very well, especially, in that they bloom later than a lot of the other flowers. They are perennial, make a good ground cover, and fill the gaps between the shrubs. I like how their textures and colors flow into one another. It feels really nice to step on the creeping thyme with bare feet and they don’t seem to care a bit. These plants require no care, no watering, and, once the thyme gets going strong; no weeding necessary!
The nasturtium, fennel, and mexican mint marigold are annual and edible and beautiful…especially after a light rain shower. Green fennel seeds are like licorice candy!
The lavender, marjoram, and green and gold make a fragrant and carefree planting. The lavender and marjoram are tough as nails and grow in pretty poor conditions. I love using marjoram on salads and sandwiches. It is related to oregano but I like it better. I have divided and re-divided the plants to grow everywhere as a favored ground cover. I am not very familiar with green and gold but it seems to be doing fine here so far. They will put out a yellow flower in the early spring and they spread as a ground cover with their rhizomatous roots. All of these plants are wonderful for beneficial insects and pollinators.
The comfrey, red clover, yarrow, and chives are doing pretty well in the apple tree guild. I think the clover, yarrow, and chives would enjoy more sunlight but they are growing steadily. These plants take care of a lot of functions…medicinal, tea, culinary, insectary, nectary, dynamic accumulator, nitrogen fixer, ground cover. Nice. I’m thinking to put these together in another area with more sun. It is, definitely, worth replicating. It is not unusual for people to get rid of their red clover because it is a “weed.” Ridiculous. In and of itself; it is good for making tea, it is medicinal, it’s a dynamic accumulator, a nitrogen fixer, an insectary, a nectary, and a ground cover and it blooms from May to September. The rabbits do love to nibble on the blossoms but the plant recovers quickly. A real beauty!