With spring finally here, green-fingered enthusiasts and gardening professionals alike will undoubtedly be keen to prepare for the brighter weather on the horizon.
Attracting pollinators can be a key consideration at this time of year, as the creatures behind this process offer a great deal for gardeners.
Pollination is a process by which pollen is transferred from one plant to another – and this allows them to fertilise, which in turn leads to the creation of fruit and seeds. Gardens are becoming increasingly recognised as a highly attractive habitat for the likes of butterflies, moths, hoverflies and bees to visit flowers.
Delosperma is one particularly good source for gardeners who are hoping to increase the amount of pollination in their green space. It is a genus of approximately 100 succulent plants in the Aizoaceae family.
Organic gardener and author of The Allotment Keeper's Handbook Jane Perrone noted that it is great for those who are struggling with hot or dry spots. In an article for UK national newspaper the Guardian, she singled out the Hardy Mixed variety as being ideal, describing them as super-tough.
They are ice plants with daisy-like flowers that come in an attractive range of candy cane-like hues. Being such strong performers in tough conditions, they can occupy space where nothing else is able to grow. Attaining heights and spreads of anywhere between four inches to 24 inches, they will also be able to creep around poor and stony soils.
"To get the full carpet-of-colour look, just plant these en masse," Ms Perrone commented, adding: "The jolly flowers and fleshy leaves, which resemble green jellybeans, will look fabulous romping around a gravel garden or pouring out of a container or over an old stone wall."
She added that they are also great for those who do not like working too hard – or have a lot of work to do in other parts of the garden like a greenhouse.
"Lazy gardeners, rejoice: this is one plant with which you can give the watering can and the soil improver a rest," the expert remarked. "Poor, stony, gravelly soil in full sun in a sheltered spot will make your ice plants thrive."
Ms Perrone acknowledged that there are some drawbacks – but a wet summer could doom the plants if the gardener fails to provide them with plenty of fast-draining soil. However, by plotting them in gritty compost before hardening them off, they should be able to survive.