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- Pest-Fighting Perennial(Hedgerow) Mix
Pest-Fighting Perennial(Hedgerow) Mix
This mix is intended for a flowering hedgerow or wild strip to attract and nurture wildlife, especially beneficial insects. It's primarily made up of vigorous perennials that are widely-adapted to many garden situations, and have nectar-producing flowers over a long season. The flowers are not necessarily showy--nectar is the main consideration--but it includes favorites like columbine, echinacea, coreopsis, maltese cross, and nepeta, as well as herbs like lemon balm and anise hyssop. There are some self-sowing annuals to get the ground covered quickly. It includes both sun and shade-loving plants, as well as those with a wide variety of soil preferences. It may be combined with spaced-out shrubs or small trees like elder, quince, cotoneaster, chokecherry, ceonothus, coyote brush, mesquite, etc. if desired.
The idea is that if you can't put in a lot of research, or access a native plant nursery, you can start with this mix and let your situation select which plants do best. Gardeners in arid-summer areas will need to provide water to get it established, and probably some water during active growth, but it is not nearly as water-hungry as vegetables or most ornamentals. This mix includes plants that spread by runners, like Milkweed, lemon balm, perennial sunflower, and catnip. The edges can be controlled by mowing. Unlike the annual mix, this mix prefers sowing in cool weather, either spring or fall.
What is a hedgerow? Traditional English hedgerows are based on thorny trees woven together as a living fence that can hold livestock. They are often the last refuge of wildflowers and ancient plants that have disappeared in adjacent fields and residential areas. Modern conservation hedgerows concentrate on providing flowers over a long season for pollinator habitat. They are usually quite open, so sun can reach the flowering plants, and are primarily intended as sanctuaries for wildlife, especially beneficial insects and birds. They may contain trees, but are often composed of perennials, self-sowing annuals, small shrubs, and possibly larger shrubs or fruit trees, spaced widely enough for sun to reach the flowers beneath.
For more on hedgerows, here is an article from Oregon State University about using them on farms in the Northwest. Here is an article about them in the East. And here is one for California.