Willow Dens and Flower Meadows: Reaping the Benefits

August Willow Den

We have tried something different in the garden this year.  It has been really fun creating it and watching how things develop. We moved some fruit bushes freeing up a sunny plot of land about 10ft square.  Rather than go for some of the obvious choices of perennial plants and shrubs or vegetables we thought we would try and be more original.  I wanted planting that would look good from Spring to Autumn, not cost too much, and most of all, low maintenance was on the top of the wish list.

We had cleared the land in March.  The openness of the land gave us the opportunity to plant a willow teepee for use as a den by my son, as well as providing a beautiful structure for all of us.  The story of how this was planted can be found at Our Willow Wigwam.  We had all visited the Olympic Park in 2012 and been wowed by the wildflower planting there.  The same year a friend had sowed seeds from the same company in a London front garden.  The reults were spectacular and longlasting.  So I ordered a short annual mix from Pictorial Meadows with the intention of surrounding the wigwam with wildflowers.

sowing wildflower seeds

Sowing and broadcasting the seeds was a great family activity.  You can see more about how we did this at the day we sowed a wildflower meadow.

Since April we have been closely monitoring the progress of our little project.  It has exceeded all expectations.  May was really quiet with just a little growth on both the willow and the flowers.  However as promised by mid June the whole area really started to explode.

Willow Teepee

Our criteria for low maintenance meant that I hadn’t planned to water this patch of land at all.  This would have been fine with the rainfall we had last year, but this year we have had the driest summer since 2006.  By early July the willow, water lover that it is, was really beginning to suffer and it looked as if a couple of the rods were beginning to die, so I succumbed to watering.  I also had to weave in growing branches to form a mesh.  I regretted not adding a ground cover inside the teepee at the time of planting.  It was however mainly rogue raspberry canes popping up and possbily the ground cover would not of stopped them.

I have fallen in love with willow as a plant.  The excess growth at the topof the teepee will be put to good use infilling gaps at the bottom.  I hope there will be a few pieces spare so both I and my son can have a go at some willow weaving.

Wildflower Meadow

The Flowers have been the star of the show.  I must point out that they are not actually wildflowers, but an annual mix specially designed to flower for as long as possible.  I am calling it a meadow because it really has got that feel – so different from the planting in the rest of the garden.

wildflowers June

The plot has flowered since mid June and now in September they are still going strong.  They have been so successful I would recommend them to anyone with a sunny plot of land.  Apart from pulling out a few weeds I have not touched them.  No deadheading and no watering.  It has been a delight to see the succession of flowers.  The colours have moved from the pretty pastels of pink, mauve and blue as above to the hottest red and orange colours.

wildflowersaugust

The packet of seed promised me a range of flowers

Fairy Toadflax  Linaria maroccana

Red Flax   Linum grandiflorum rubrum

Shirley Poppy  Papaver rhoeas

Love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena

Candytuft  Iberis umbellata

Blue Flax Linum usitatissimum

These have all been blooming.  However I seem to have had a number of other plants flowering.  The most beautiful and stunning is the red and orange  Golden Tickseed –  Coreopsis Tinctoria.  I am really chuffed to learnt more about annual flowers.  They really are underated.  I will be making sure I save seeds and hopefully the plants will self seed for next year.  The best thing however is that I only used 1/2 the packet of seeds so I know I have stock for next year.  I have been pleased I went for the short version of the annual mix.  The growth has been upto 2 feet tall, which means it has not been battered too much by wind and rain.  It has been interesting to note that whilst the bees and other insects such as hoverflies were visiting the plot in the early summer, as the summer draws on the bees seems to prefer my Cosmos and Echinacea elsewhere in my garden.

DSC_1280

I’m looking forward to our meadow continuing well into October.  When I look ahead to next year I already know that we will be having another family seed sowing session next spring.  After that one piece of hard work we can then sit back and enjoy that part of the garden for the rest of the year.  You can’t ask for anything better than that.

I am linking up this post with Countrykids at Coombemill .  Please stop by there to see how other families have been enjoying the outdoors.

 

 

 

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 Responses to Willow Dens and Flower Meadows: Reaping the Benefits

  1. Melksham Mum September 7, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I had to click through when I saw your beautiful thumbnail. What an amazing spot. You have put so much love into it. Puts me and my garden to shame!!

    • Lynda September 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      Thank you. Made me realise that it is worth trying something a little more adventurous

  2. A field somewhere September 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Beautiful!

    • Lynda September 8, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Thank you

  3. Stephanie September 8, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Oh that is beautiful. The meadow is just so lovely. Like something from a story book.

    • Lynda September 9, 2013 at 9:07 am #

      Thank you – though the reading I was hoping my son would do in the den didn’t quite take place. Then there is always next year!

  4. Coombe Mill - Fiona September 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    The meadow flowers are beautiful, and how great that the Wigwam is doing so well. You certainly are reaping the benefits from the hard work you have all put in. Thanks for linking up and sharing your gardening adventures with Country Kids.

    • Lynda September 9, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Thank you Fiona. Would certainly recommend this project to anyone. Really pleased with the way it has turned out.

  5. Nichola Fabfortymum September 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Oh I love wildflowers, they just look so naturally beautiful. Your willow teepee is fabulous too and the lovely thins is that it will just keep getting better as it matures. My daughters nursery garden has a willow reading den in it and it’s a few years old and an incredible little spot to sit. Such lovely pictures.

    • Lynda September 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      I was a bit dissappointed about the willow den, but think you have hit the nail on the head. It will just keep improving. Thank for your comments

  6. Claudia September 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    oh how beautiful! i love the mix of colors and how wild they look. and hello, a willow teepee? lucky

    • Lynda September 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

      Thank you for your flattering comments – its been worth the work

  7. Mammasaurus September 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Woah I love this – I’d love a wild flower meadow type of area in our garden next year – I must ask, are they the short annual mix from Pictorial Meadows? If so I’m ordering myself some right now. Stunning, just stunning!

    Thanks for sharing – so pretty, you must love looking at them!

    • Lynda September 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Hi Annie yes to your question about the short annual mix. Based on my experience i’d recommend to anyone. It really was very esay to create

  8. The Reading Residence (@ihavecards) September 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    I love that willow teepee! Absolutely fab! I’ve just got a load of seeds in ready to make a similar patch – just sprinkle them all in and hoping to get lots of flowers coming up throughout next year that’ll be perfect for cutting and brightening up the house, too. Yours looks gorgeous, so hoping I can make something halfway decent!

  9. Katie September 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    Oh my goodness, I love this and want this! I have been wishing on a willow den, but never really been sure where to start. Simply beautiful and can’t wait to see it next year!

    • Lynda September 13, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      I’m hoping it inspires a few people to have a go. Will be positng more updates.

  10. sonia constant September 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    What pretty flowers, lots of colours. Looks great.

    I want my garden to look that pretty!

  11. Lisa September 14, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    I’m in love with that meadow, I tried to create one (unsuccessfully) years ago, it just looked like a lawn gone bad, but I’ve bookmarked pictorial meadows for my next attempt! Hope it turns out half as good as yours

  12. Kathleen September 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    A willow teepee! Perfect for the little ones to hide away – now maybe I can make one for myself. :) What a gorgeous outcome you had to your garden.

    • Lynda September 16, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      Please do have a go. Your kids will have great fun helping you.

  13. nylonliving September 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Well done! It’s so pretty. I love wildflower meadows and the wigwam is an inspired addition.

    • Lynda September 16, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      Thank you. I’m hoping it will look even beter next year

  14. Juliet@CreativeSTAR September 15, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    The flowers work a treat. Whilst wildflower seed packs may not be quite as vibrant, my garden is awash with visiting insects: wasps, bees, hoverflies and others that I don’t even know the names of. The wasps and bees do not bother the humans at all. They are focused on the flowers. It’s been one of the best things I’ve done too. And very low maintenance!

  15. Dragonsflypoppy September 15, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    Such pretty wild flowers. So full of colour. I love the willow wigwam too – I hope to do something like that in my garden next year x

    • Lynda September 16, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      PLease do have a go. Would love to see the results if you do.

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