Flowers are ambassadors for verge gardens. They help to make people comfortable with the initial disruption to the ubiquity of grass nature strips.
There are two main types of flowers to include on your verge.
The flowers of native shrubs provide ongoing habitat and food – plants like Westringia, Austromyrtus dulcis (Midgen Berry), Myoporum boninense and Scaevola.
Scaevola is a low-growing native groundcover with continual flowers for bees and butterflies.
The native bees and other pollinators love them and, once established, they don’t take much work at all.
The other flowers are usually annuals. These plants and flowers are popular with the bees, but they also have an important role in connecting with the pedestrians who walk by.
There is something magical about flowers that come up to greet you at waist or even face height. My second generation of self-seeded cosmos was taller than the first and provides a cheerful greeting to passersby. I’ve seen people pause, reach out and touch the flowers.
Drifts of low growing alyssum is another favourite, providing cheerful sweet-scented flowers. Other favourites have included zinnias and strawflowers. These old-fashioned flowers are often the best. Easy to grow and generally more hardy, they are familiar and evoke memories.
Strawflowers (Xerochrysum bracteatum) are long-lasting flowers – and they’re also natives. Often grown as annuals depending on where you live. Paper Daisies have received more positive comments from passers-by than any other plant.
Also, in the shady part of my verge, and acting as a living mulch underneath taller flowers, are Viola banksii (native violets) which almost always has its cheerful little flower.
The changing display of flowers gives passers-by something to mark the changes in the seasons, and something new to comment on as they pass.
Flowers are ambassadors for verge gardens. They help to make people comfortable with the initial disruption to the ubiquity of grass nature strips. They reassure them that we’re trying to enhance their suburb rather than take that public land for our own uses.