Plant and Product Review - The Vivara Butterfly Garden

 "Would you like to review our new butterfly garden" was the question in the email I received from the nice people at Vivara.  I looked at their website to see what the butterfly garden consisted of and then very quickly said yes.

I have not paid for these products and I have not been paid to write this review.  My words and opinions are completely my own.

Shortly after agreeing to review the garden several large boxes arrived.  I opened them with increasing excitement.  Spot the Esme who has already worked out there is catmint in one of the boxes.

The plants are:

4 x Verbena bonariensis
8 x Echinacea 'purpura' Alba
8 x Lavender Hidcote
8 x Nepeta faarssenii
1 x Dwarf White Buddleja 

and a beautiful limited edition butterfly house and a butterfly/bee house.  These were soon installed on the fence ready for their occupants.  What I liked about both of these 'houses' is that they have opening flaps so that you can clean them out.  This is important as it helps prevent infection.  The flap also meant that I could pop some little twigs into the butterfly house to help them feel at home.

Of course I needed somewhere to plant all these plants and I knew immediately I had just the right spot.  Remember I had cleared the small Prairie Border and did not know what to do with it?  Well now I knew.  Also it fitted the dimensions mentioned the website perfectly, it was pretty much 3 metres by 1 metre.  It was meant to be.
I was very pleased with the quality of the plants.  I popped them into the greenhouse for a day or so to let them recover from their journey.

Then it was planting day.  I made sure the border was weeded and laid out the plants.  I did so fairly randomly,  I want them to mix in with each other.
Then I went and had a cup of tea before returning to check I was happy with the layout.  This is the secret to planting: set out the plants, drink tea and then see if they still look right.  They did and so I planted them and watered them in well.
There were still a couple of echinops in this border and I left them as bees love them.  I also planted a small rose, a simple single flower rose that is good for bees.  I am not sure of its name, it was a cutting from a friend.
The plants started to settle in from the moment they were planted.  I was very pleased to see this.
The nepeta budded up very quickly and was soon opening its flowers.
Of course I was hoping for a photo of a butterfly enjoying the catmint, but the best I could manage was Esme having a nibble.  Miraculously, the nepeta is surviving the attentions of Esme and my other cats.  I think this is because they were a good size when planted and so can recover from a bit of a nibble.

To say I am delighted with this butterfly garden is an understatement.  It is currently at the time of writing retailing at £109 (usually the price is around £132) and I think this is good value.  The plants are a nice size and good quality, the bee and insect hotels are very well made.  I can easily and very happily recommend it.  If you have a space you need to fill then this garden is for you.  You could also use it to supplement your current borders to add more pollinator-friendly plants.  You can plant it as it works for you.

The Butterfly Garden is sold by Vivara

Take care and be kind

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