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Wild Flower Patch

Discussion in 'Herbs and Wildflowers' started by Mr Grinch, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    Evening all,

    After watching the Sarah Raven program this week on nector bar flowers, i have decided to dedicate two small areas in my south facing border to it.
    A couple of questions. Has anyone else done one ? If so, any do's and dont's ? Any pic's ?
    Secondly, im looking for a mix with no grasses and mixed with native corn flowers and American prairy flowers to get a balance of early, mid and late flowers. Does anyone know a place on the NET that sells such mixes and could recomend ?

    G
     
  2. Steve R

    Steve R Chief Beverage Officer

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    I did a very small area last year and found I did not sow thickly enough.

    I'll be doing some bigger areas this year and next, but I am not bothered about the grass seed content as it adds to the overall effect I want anyway.

    The RHS have a list of plants here that are "Perfect for Polinators" if you want flowers only

    http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/pdfs/RHS_Polinators_PlantList_V1

    And an info page here http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/Plants-for-pollinators

    Sarah Raven also has some info and seeds for sale on her website too.

    Bees, Butterflies and Blooms | Sarah Raven's Kitchen and Garden

    I've a few wildflower mixes, and butterfly attractor mixes and they will all get mixed with a bit of sand and sown. I'll adjust in later years either sowing more seeds or planting/adding perrenials.

    If you cannot find a mix without grasses, then make sure you buy some "Yellow Rattle" seeds to add to whatever mix you do buy as this helps limit the grasses that continue to grow.

    Plenty of info on Sarahs site about how to go about preparing for and then planting your wild patches, good luck and lets have some photo's at the end of the season.

    Steve...:)
     
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  3. Kleftiwallah

    Kleftiwallah Gardener

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    Best to find out what type of soil you have and then concentrate on flowers that like it rather than buy plants that don't do well in your type of soil. Cheers, Tony.
     
  4. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    Heavy soil Tony.
    I will improve it but it gets a bit dry in summer if no rain is about.

    G
     
  5. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    Thanks Steve.
    Do the grasses take over then and will the flowering plants self seed ? To be honest i do not want a weed problem in years to come so would the Annuel nector flowers be better ?

    G
     
  6. capney

    capney Head Gardener

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    I did the same as Steve last year and left the plants to self seed for this year, so maybe a better show this year. I believe I got a box of wild mix from Wilkos if thats any use.
     
  7. Steve R

    Steve R Chief Beverage Officer

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    The grasses are part of the attraction, if you have too much grasses one year, add the yellow rattle for the next. Some of the annual flowers will set seed for next year, perrenials come back year on year.

    [​IMG]

    In the pic above there are many grasses, but they help show off the flowers dont you think?

    Steve...:)
     
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  8. joolz68

    joolz68 Total Gardener

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    hi steve,it never entered my head that sarah raven would have a website so thanks for that x ive joined and got my wish list going already :heehee:
     
  9. Jack McHammocklashing

    Jack McHammocklashing Sludgemariner

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    I have just bought the £1.39 boxes of 10,000 seeds from Home Bargains, ready mixed with fine sand, according to the box you just shake well then scatter
    I got Native wild flowers, and scented flowers
    Though they have several
    Yellow theme, Blue theme, Red theme, marrigolds, and some I can not recall

    No experience if they will work, just it may keep a small area pretty, whilst I establish my veg and borders

    Jack McHammocklashing
     
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  10. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    Bang goes the idea i had then. :(
    It looks great but i wanted it for an area of my border. With the self sowing and grass it could take over and in years to come, i will be continually weeding. Would it be like this ? I hope not as i REALLY want an area of it in my border.
     
  11. Steve R

    Steve R Chief Beverage Officer

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    You just need to pick your flowers/plants that you want and plant your border as anyone else would. I've not seen a seed mix without grasses, but then again I have not looked for one either.

    So you can pick the seeds of what you want in your border, and buy others as plants, tubers or bulbs etc and plant those too.

    Steve...:)
     
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  12. clueless1

    clueless1 Retired Administrator Staff Member

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    I've seen flower mixes advertised without grass seed included. I couldn't remember the suppliers I'd seen so I did a quick search. This one was the top result after the sponsored ads:

    Cornfield Annuals Seed Mix

    Having only had a half baked attempt at this sort of thing myself, I'm not in any position to advise, but it seems to me that if you choose the right flower species, and prepare the soil well, then weeds wont be a problem anyway. These aren't cultivated, sterile, high maintenance flowers, these are plants that have adapted well to suit a given set of conditions. If you can offer those conditions then they'll compete against the best of the weeds, and look after themselves. Of course there are certain weeds that will out-compete everything, eg nettles and clevers, but if the ground is free of the most vigorous weeds and you choose the right species for the conditions, you should be ok I reckon.

    I did a small wildflower patch at my last house. I had some limited success but I had a bindweed infestation there at the time, so it was doomed to fail long term. I'm raised some on my land with good success, but it was a tiny patch. When I lived in Sheffield, the old boy next door was a grand master as far as I'm concerned. His garden was stunning, yet whenever I asked him, he couldn't name most of his flowers. He once told me his approach to gardening was that if he saw a flower he liked while out in the countryside, he'd go back when it had gone to seed and grab a handful, then when he got home he'd throw it randomly on his garden. To quote him "if it grows, it was meant to grow, if it doesn't grow, it wasn't meant to". Truth is he was a jammy git who managed to have a stunning garden by limited hard work and loads of luck:)
     
  13. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    That looks like a great mix AND a great price. Looking at the Thompson & Morgan site they are doing virtually the same mix but 1g of seed for £3 here, it looks like 100g for £8 a bargain.
    As the label states these are good for early summer, late May, June and early July but i also wanted to add a mix that look good in July, Aug and Sept just the exstend the flower time and encourage bugs for the whole summer. Would an American prairy mix be good for this and do you know of a decent site that sells the mix at a good price ?

    When it comes to soil, the area i have is well drained and dry in summer, a mix of a heavy soil and compost. It gets full sun in summert from 11am until 6pm.

    regards
    G
     
  14. KingEdward

    KingEdward Gardener

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    Emorsgate Seeds do a very similar 'native'* cornfield mix for £6 / 100g including postage. I'm planning to use this mix to fill in some gaps in borders, and to fill some newly dug areas (de-turfed ex-lawn) until we get/grow/divide enough perennials to plant them properly.

    For the more complex mixes featured on Sarah Raven's programme, try 'Pictorial Meadows' - these are the mixes developed at Sheffield - but they are quite a bit more expensive.

    I'm also planning to seed some areas with Phacelia (available as green manure seeds), which is extremely attractive to insects when in flower. Should be good especially on drier soils.

    I don't think any of these annuals will cause a long term weed problem - they're not vigorous enough to compete with established perennials, and any that come up in gaps will be quite welcome anyway.

    *Poppies and most other cornfield annuals aren't really native to Britain, since most of them arrived with early farmers.
     
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  15. loveweeds

    loveweeds Gardener

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    wildwflowers in border

    Hello Mr Grinch,
    here a wildflowerish patch in my border. Have not much space, though, therefore i always mix normal border plants and beefriendly/wildish plants.
    Mix of perennials and annuals.

    First Pic: red Poppy, orange/yello mariagold, white lychnis, blue borago, white+yellow cammomile, in far back pink malva alcea. Hard to spot because quite finished with flowering is the hawkweed.

    Second pic is only attached to show off the vipers bugloss (the blue spikes). Bought in the National wildflower center Liverpool. Its a stunner. The blue geranium in the front was also well visited by bees etc.
     

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  16. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    Seed ordered today :thumbsup:
     
  17. KingEdward

    KingEdward Gardener

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    Which seed did you go for?
     
  18. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    I got the Emorsgate Seeds native cornfield mix. I got 100g for £6. I thought about the £8 mix with more variety but will go for this basic mix this year, maybe try something bigger next :thumbsup:
     
  19. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    Seeds arrived Saturday. Should be enough for three patches in my borders i think.
    Nebver done annuals before from seed, let alone native insect atteacting plants so fingers crossed :blue thumb:
     
  20. Mr Grinch

    Mr Grinch Super Gardener

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    Seeds sown today !! Enough for two patches.
    Fingers crossed the germinate :blue thumb:
     
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