Thursday, 25 April 2013

Plan 'A' ... Operation Wildflower ...

Last year we had a wildflower 'meadow' in the 'orchard', which sounds much more impressive than it really is ! In reality we had a strip of wild flowers at the edge of the grass, in an area of the garden which is home to  a few  little fruit trees which are not even as big as me! Anyway, we were quite pleased with it ... until strong winds flattened it, from which it never fully recovered.

We chose an Annual mix ('Standard Annual Mix') from 'Pictorial Meadows', which changed colour throughout the season, from pastel pinks and blues, through to strong reds and russets. It did what it said on the tin ! The photo above was taken during the change of colours, so you can still see the pastels, but the stronger colours are coming through, with the red of the Field Poppy. It contained, amongst others, Shirley Poppy, Californian Poppy, Cornflower, Coreopsis, Larkspur, Toadflax and Linaria. We were late to sow, because we ordered the seed late and had to wait, due to high demand, but everything grew well and caught up and it flowered until the first frosts.

I tried a mini experiment one day, when it was in full flower, and shut my eyes and just listened to the sounds coming from it. It was alive with the buzzing and humming of a huge number of bees and other insects. When I turned to the grass and repeated the experiment there was little to listen to. The wild flowers were responsible for encouraging a huge number of bees, butterflies and more into the garden.

We have plans ! Plan A was to grow the annuals the first year (check); leave the seeds to ripen and disperse where they grew (check); leave the area fallow through the winter (check) then to sow perennial wildflower seed this Spring (hmmm !).

There have been one... no ... two, big hold ups !

Two huge piles of prunings, branches, xmas tree, accumulated garden rubbish were standing in our way.

So, it all had to go !

It was a fantastic bonfire, if a little scary as it was so fierce !

This is what it looks like now, but with a little work, it will soon be ready to sow .

The ground is warming up nicely now, but what to choose !  Last year we bought from 'Pictorial Meadow' and were very pleased with the results, but when I went online to order their Perennial mix I was horrified to find that they have run out until AUTUMN ! Eek ! I will have to scout around to find an alternative. I liked their choice of short-lived perennials in the 'Pictorial Meadows' mix, which included White Chamomile, Red Scabious, Evening Primrose, Purple Mullein (Verbascum Phoeniceum), Gypsophila and Silene Armeria. I will look for its equivalent - any suggestions welcome !

My theory for 'Plan A' is that the slow growth of the perennials sown this year will be bulked up by the self seeded annuals from last year. So, it should be ok ...

If it all goes pear-shaped we may need Plan B -  which is more lovely Annuals sown again this year, or a fire pit for more lovely bonfires !


  1. I've got new garden beds and debated putting in seed mixes like this. Yours looks great, good luck with phase 2.

    1. Hi Derek, thanks for your comments. Go ... do it ! You won't regret it ! So easy once the seed is sown as all you have to do is to sit back and watch it grow ...

  2. I like your patch of mixed annuals - wild and rambling. You should have organised a BBQ party to take advantage of the bonfire :)

  3. Thankyou Stiletto. We did have a party tbh, and a very good one it was ! Love your photos - so exotic compared to ours !

  4. our wildflower meadow in the orchard - is self-sown nasturtiums under the row of fig, apple and plum.

    BTW there is no indication where your garden is. Country? Climate? City or rural??

  5. I need to rectify that, I think ! We are in the uk, in the Midlands, on the edge of a large village. Climate is ...cold... grey ... need I say more ! Your wildflower meadow sounds lovely !

  6. If you lived in the US, I'd know where to send you, but not there. I hope you find a place that sells what you're looking for - in stock. I love your idea of a wildflower meadow, and while you were talking about hearing the bees vs. silence over the grass, it really made me realize that I need to reduce my grass areas. Maybe one day I'll put in my own wildflower meadow. Good luck!


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