Friday, 10 June 2011

Wild About Gardening

The Handyman has recently taken an interest in cultivating plants for the garden - don't get me wrong, he's always appreciated the lovely borders and garden views but his gardening focus has been on the grass, lawns and hedgerows. The planting of the borders, pots, baskets and the kitchen garden has for the most part been left to me; no hardship there!

beginnings of the wild garden 2010 on the right hand side of the arbour
Just over a year ago he expressed an interest in creating a more wild aspect to the garden and purchased some meadow mix and wildflower seed. I think it's fair to say that minimum preparation was made to an area of grassy weeds/weedy grass alongside a hedgerow and the seed scattered, the results were pretty poor, so a second attempt was made by sowing the mix in one of the raised beds in the kitchen garden which produced a weed-free seedling mini meadow. The Handyman then transplanted this in clumps to a more weeded and de-grassed hedgerow border. Last year we had quite a few flowers; this year the area has provided some lovely colour and contrast in style to the nearby cultivated borders. So far we've had red and white campion, lots of ox-eye daisies, field and opium poppies, buttercups, a few dandelions and the odd thistle amongst some lovely light and flowing grasses – oh and the odd potato plant from a seed potato or two transported with the soil from another part of the garden.

ox-eye daisies and red campion 2011

by Valentine's gate lovely grasses and the occasional poppy

Inspired by this success the Handyman has freed up another weedy area leading from the current 'meadow' patch to Valentine's Gate and has sown several packets of wild flowers mixed with some columbine (aquilegia) and foxglove seedlings taken from the woodland garden. Some nasturtium and California poppy seedlings from the hot border have also been incorporated…so we have our fingers crossed and are hopeful of a bit more wild garden.

view from Valentine's gate with wild border on the left
Although I have to admit that I wasn't too keen on the 'wild' idea at first I now think that it adds a lovely dimension to Holly Grove. We love to sit in the little arbour at Valentine's Gate and enjoy the view through the wild flowers and grasses to the lawns, trees, shrubs, and perennial borders beyond. As a further incentive for the Handyman I've bought him (us) a copy of William Robinson's Wild Garden to provide inspiration…more on William Robinson in a later post when I've read a bit more of the book.  For now I'm enjoying sharing with the Handyman the joys of seeing your planted seeds sprouting into small plants!

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