Thursday, 9 May 2013

A whole lotta weeding going on ...

This is what the Wildflower patch in the orchard looked like last season. We loved it, the bees loved it and the butterflies loved it, so we decided to do it again this year.

There is more about the early planning in these posts if you are interested - 'Plan A - Operation Wildflower', and  'Nitty, gritty down and dirty...' .

Now, I really hate weeding. Especially dandelions and nettles. I hate it when those weeds are in planted beds, but most of all I hate big areas of bare soil, covered only by weeds.

A couple of days ago, we decided that the soil was warm enough to start the sowing of the wildflower seeds, but there was lots of preparation to do before the pleasant job of sowing ...

It was with a heavy heart that I took my kneeling pad, trowel and rubber gloves down to the  patch in the orchard which is destined to be our wild flower area. It took a whole day of weeding to prepare the area down to a reasonably fine tilth ready for sowing, and I needed a glass or two of red wine as my reward when I had finished !

The bonfire site had to be cleared too,and the wood ash raked into the whole area. We did not use any additional fertiliser  as wild flowers do best in soil which is a little impoverished.

There were lots of these !

I began to wonder at this point if we really wanted any wild flowers !

Five hours later !

It felt like square miles but in fact it was only 50 square metres ! We marked out each square metre using 2 canes cut to 1m long, and drew lines in the soil for demarcation. 

Last season's wildflowers were left to set seed at the end of the season, and as a result of this there are lots of little seedlings appearing. I am just hoping that they are flowers and not MORE WEEDS!

We finally decided on a mix of 'Classic' and 'Pastel' Annual Wildflower seeds from Sarah Raven's website. When we sowed the seed last year we got patchy growth because we had sown unevenly. We were determined not to let that happen again, so we mixed the seed with a handful of sand, to ensure even spread. Each packet contained 6g of seed which covered 2.5m.

Once the seed was sown we raked it in and watered it in with the hose on a fine spray. Interestingly, sarah Raven suggests raking one way only, which we did try, but our usual raking style is pretty random ! Maybe we have been missing a trick all these years ?

It takes 10 weeks from seed to flower, so they should be coming into flower by around mid-July.

They are worth the work, but it is a labour-intensive task. This Autumn we intend to sow perennial wildflower seed to cut down on work and expense.


  1. Awesome post! It's going to be beautiful! Every year we plan to sow wildflowers in our field and I hope to realize that dream one day soon. I will remember to mix the seeds with some sand. Thank you!

  2. Hi Anastasia. Thanks for your comments. It was loads easier to sow evenly using the sand. Sheer laziness that we hadn't done it like that before !

  3. Hi Jane, the photo of last year's wildflower garden looks totally divine. I let annual wildflowers go to seed and more or less do their own thing. I find they generally come back by themselves once they've naturalized.

  4. Hi catmint. Thanks for your comments. That is what I am hoping - that last year's flowers will have self-seeded, it looks as if there are lots of promising looking seedlings springing up !

  5. It will be so beautiful when all those wildflowers are blooming! I have always heard that a wildflower meadow was difficult due to all the weeding that needed to be done. I think that wine was very, very deserving!

  6. Ah Thanks HolleyGarden. I have just commented on your gorgeous roses, over on your plot !


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