Buddleja

Buddleja rain leaves

Also known as Butterfly Bush or Summer Lilac, the buddleja is a plucky shrub that I’ll see all along my train route into work, this time of year. The distinctive flowers make it very easy to spot. I think the ones by the rail side are the Buddleja davidii ‘Blue Horizon’.

buddleja train.JPG
Look at that determined son of a budd. Forcing its roots down through what can’t be much more than debris and aggregate left over from when the track was being laid and pushing its stems up through a layer of large stone gravel which must be several inches thick, this buddleja has still managed to produce flowers. It’s probably been there several years without any tenderness, the likes of which would be found in the bed of even a modest gardener. This is my sort of plant, a fuelling station for butterflies and just about as hardy as they come!

I bought the buddleja you see at the top for two reasons. Firstly, it came up in a list of 10 most fragrant flowers. My buddleja has only just begun to flower but it doesn’t seem very fragrant at the moment. Perhaps it needs to be a little more mature before it gives off a strong scent. The second reason I was keen on the buddleja, is because, as the name suggests, butterflies absolutely go nuts for this guy. It’s basically has the Lynx effect on them and they come charging in from miles around. At least, that’s what I was led to believe. Again, it’s early days, my buddleja only began flowering toward the end of last week, but so far, I’ve not had the hoards of butterflies in my garden that I had imagined. I’m not saying I’m disappointed or that I’m impatient but, I clearly am suffering from a deficiency of patients and an excess of disappointment.

It’s not all bad. To be fair, it’s not bad at all. Look at the frigging colour of that purple! It’s vibrant in a way that no hardy shrub that has the potential to force its way through heavy railway gravel, should be able to possess. It’s why I don’t think it’s a ‘Blue Horizon’ as that flower is closer to a muted blue, as the name suggests. I think what I may have on my hands is the Buddleja davidii Buzz Velvet

buddleja wall

Full disclaimer, the words that you’re reading in this paragraph are being written a full 10 days after I started to write this post, it’s been a busy week that has been unrelated to gardening. But I’m keen to finish this post as I am a fan of the buddleja.

So the photo directly above is a just over a week on from the photo at the top of the page. The flowers are a little more developed and there is a bit of a fragrance being produced. Also, a couple days back on a later sunny afternoon, I did see a butterfly in the garden. This made me overly excited, in a way that I haven’t been since Christmas of 1989. But it would be unfair of me to attribute the arrival of the butterfly entirely to the buddleja. Nonetheless, I’m delighted to see that the combination of flowers in our garden is being appreciated by mother nature.

While I was away at the weekend, watering duties were left to my soon-to-be better-half. She has the unfathomable ability to be able to water the entire garden with just two full watering cans, where it will take me at least six. She is very special, unlike any woman or anything on this beautiful green and blue planet. I did notice that when I came back on the Sunday that the buddleja was starting to droop a little.

Knowing that all the plants in the garden had been watered, by the love of my life, I knew more water wouldn’t help, but the lack of experience I have to draw on left me with no other but to go around and give the buddleja and the rest of our garden, the six cans I normally distribute. Coincidentally, the following day the plants seemed to perk up.

It’s worth noting that the buddleja by the rail side are in the ground and their roots can go in whatever direction is available in the search to find water and nutrients. With our buddleja, restrained in a pot, it is completely at our mercy so its ability to be as hardy as its wild relatives is attenuated.

The buddleja is popular in many gardens and for good reason. Scented, good for wildlife, beautiful flowers and easy to take care of. If you’re considering getting a buddleja, consider no longer, go ahead and get one for your garden.

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