The wildflower patch in summer

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Back in March we made a leap into a new venture, creating a wildflower patch. I wrote about our initial works on the project back in May and since then I've not touched on it here. At least once a week we've stopped by to examine progress, spot the new flowers blooming and to generally enjoy the fruits of our labour.

At the outset I knew we were going against the recommended way of creating a genuine meadow which would ordinarily take a number of years to establish and our shortcuts could well backfire. I suppose the question ought to be what do you want to achieve? and my goal was to replace the nettles, thistles and nasty impenetrable shoulder height weeds with a sea of flowers in all shapes and sizes providing a feast for both the wildlife and my eyes.

No, ours is not remotely authentic. Along with the 'wildflower mix' of seed I lobbed in the dregs of my packets of things getting old or that I didn't fancy growing elsewhere. Cosmos isn't very English meadow but it's simple flowerhead is a perfect feeding station for bees.

The colour palette has been particularly interesting. In late spring it was the blues, pinks and purples with viper bugloss, borage and a pale pink unknown flower making the bulk of blooms. It was heavenly. Then as the weeks progressed the reds, yellows and oranges joined the party. Lime green wispy heads of dill added a delicate extra shade.

In the last couple of weeks we have noticed that the volume of flowers has diminished significantly. Of course, this summer is an exceptionally hot one so may not be a solid control so to speak but it does give an indication of the 'season' we can expect in years to come. Maybe look at adding seeds of blooms which appear later in the season for a longer lasting colour.

What's left to do? Once the flowers have gone to seed and expired then they will be strimmed, left for a week for the seeds to drop then the area cleared. I'm a little uncertain but the thistly clumps may be sprayed - especially if they continue growing.

What have I learned? Ever so much. The nettles, thistles and grass have infiltrated the plot again, though to less extent by far than it would have looked without our works. It's been so much of a joy that we've put in some hard graft strimming, clearing and spraying off a larger area to convert into wildflowers next year. It will be around 4 times the original size. It's been tough work, especially in the sun and heat but once it's done then we can look forward to quite an amazing spectacle next year.

I've been snapping pictures each time we visit but they do absolutely no justice whatsoever to the feel of the place. The volume of bees and butterflies frequenting the patch has been incredible and while we will still be leaving some nettles, thistles and wild weeds elsewhere for them, next year their source of nectar will be much increased, which can only be a good thing.

There's plenty of work left to do but we're both so glad we started, for this year has been a most satisfying first step.

Take care,

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