A couple of weeks ago I posted about planting our Willow Wigwam and I am pleased to report that it has already started to sprout. I can now reveal that around the wigwam we plan to have an annual wild flower meadow and we spent Sunday preparing the ground and sowing this.
I wanted to complete the work this week as part of our contribution to the RHS’s National Gardening Week, which is all about making your garden more bee and wildlife friendly.
We have, however, not sown the free wildflower seed gratefully received from the RHS as we had already ordered a pack of flower seeds from Pictorial Meadows, the company responsible for the planting at the Olympic Park last year. Not sure we will quite achieve the same effect though. We went for the Pictorial Meadows “Short” Annual Mix, which is meant to be really long flowering. This is not a wildflower mix, but I hope the flowers will be bee friendly. It contains
Fairy Toadflax Linaria maroccana, Red Flax Linum grandiflorum rubrum. Shirley Poppy Papaver rhoeas, Love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascene, Candytuft Iberis umbellate, Blue Flax Linum usitatissimum. I think this mix will be similar to the photo above, taken when we visited the Olympic Park.
The flowers will grow to a general height of 30-40 cm. The seeds came with a very helpful instruction sheet. Our soil is very much clay, so I knew that we may have to improve the plot before we could sow. We added some sand from an old sandpit to help drainage and some compost to improve the quality of the soil.
I did most of the digging and all of the weeding! My garden helper was on hand though and learnt some new skills. I appreciated the help with breaking up clods of soil with a hoe and then stamping down the ground to flatten it. The final raking of the soil was also a favourite activity. He is a strong 8 yr. old so is able to use adult gardening tools, which make life easier. Though you do have to sometimes keep your distance as a rake can be a dangerous weapon!
We just had to a mark out where the path to the willow den would be and then came the fun part. We can all now say we have sown a wildflower meadow. Well just a bit of artistic licence, not quite a meadow and not quite wildflowers. Our instructions gave 2 options for sowing the seeds a quick and simple way and a perfectionist’s way. I am sure you can guess which we choose? We mixed the seeds with a little sand, scattered them evenly and then gently raked over the soil. Easy Peasy. This really was child’s play and great for children of any age to do.
Now we just wait and hopefully in 8-10 weeks I’ll be back posting some pictures. The good thing is that we still have half a packet of seeds for next year. We still also have our other free wildflower seeds to sow as well. As these are enough to grow a square metre area of wild flowers I might be running out of space. It looks as if they will have to go in the front garden amongst some lavender and roses.
We are going to monitor the two areas to see which is more successful in terms of growing, longevity of flowering and attractiveness to insects. But most of the time I hope we are going to be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labour.
Anyone else been doing some wild sowings recently? Would be great to compare notes.