Monday, 10 April 2017

A Trough for Wildflowers ~ Responding to a BBC Springwatch SOS



Those of you who read my previous post will know that we visited NT Ickworth some days ago to see the wonderful lambs. The photo above shows the striking rotunda, and if you click the next link, you will see a photo of another rotunda, this time on Belle Isle in the Lake District, which is associated with Fletcher Christian of Mutiny on the Bounty fame (or infamy). But I digress. 



This post is neither about lambs nor acts of derring-do on the high seas. The photo above shows the walled garden at Ickworth last August, when the wildflowers were abundant. Now you may feel that to grow wildflowers from packaged seed is a bit of a contradiction in terms; but, quite apart from the riot of colour, just think of all the pollen that will be attracting our insects. And we do have a nettle patch at home as well.

[UPDATE on 11 April 2017: at this point it seems a good idea to insert the helpful comment from fellow poet and blogger, Mavis Gulliver, as some of us may wish to follow her advice...  Mavis writes... 'We've been gardening for wild flowers on Islay for 21 years but rather than introduce non-native species and importing seed from the continent we gather local seed and have progressed from 1.2 acres of bracken,rocks and heather clumps to 204 species. Of course some have come of their own accord once our mowing regime encouraged them. Soon we will be leaving for a new challenge where I plan to follow the same principles. Gardening in this way doesn't produce such a colourful show as the packs of wild seed but we are helping to maintain the local flora.' Thank you, Mavis, so much for this important tip.]


I posted the tulip photo below in my previous post, but I am posting it again because it is current, and helps to show the extent of the area covered by poppies, cornflowers and all the other beauties in the photo above. 



The August 2016 photo below, shows blues, yellows, reds, whites and greens of this garden: what a spread for our pollen-gatherers...


... like this one...


Inspired not only by the riot of colour at Ickworth but also by the BBC Springwatch SOS exhortation to have a small wildflower planter within the garden, we bought ourselves a green trough and have planted three packets (quite large ones) of mixed wildflower seed. I have moved the primroses to another place now, and have filled the trough with soil pretty much up to the top. Small green shoots, reminding me of the first flush of mustard and cress from the days when we planted small seeds on blotting paper and squares of flannel, have already started to appear.


Needless to say, I can hardly wait for the first bud to open, and, if all goes according to plan, for the insects to come flying in.

The blackboard below was at Ickworth last summer, and while our own wildflower trough will be minuscule in comparison with the Ickworth garden, it should help to encourage wildlife into our homepatch.


Do drop a comment if you plan to plant a wildflower 'garden', too...
I plan to give intermittent updates on our green trough.

7 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

The wildflowers at Ickworth are amazing, they must be buzzing with pollinators too! I hope you get lots of pollinators to your trough too Caroline.

Edinburgh is filling up nicely with wildflower meadows both seeded from packets and allowed to revert to wild

Mavis said...

We've been gardening for wild flowers on Islay for 21 years but rather than introduce non-native species and importing seed from the continent we gather local seed and have progressed from 1.2 acres of bracken,rocks and heather clumps to 204 species. Of course some have come of their own accord once our mowing regime encouraged them. Soon we will be leaving for a new challenge where I plan to follow the same principles. Gardening in this way doesn't produce such a colourful show as the packs of wild seed but we are helping to maintain the local flora.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Brilliant stuff, I am right this minute trying to organise a meadow project here at work!

amanda peters said...

Beautiful post and photos, especially like the first two images..
Amanda xx

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you all so much for your kind and perceptive comments.

Ragged Robin said...

Lovely post and photos Caroline - the wildflower meadow at Ickworth last Summer looks superb and as you say so good for pollinators :) We saw something similar (although a LOT smaller!!) at Hanbury Hall last year and it was full of bees/hoverflies :) We have a mini "wildflower meadow" at home - which is always full of insects although we wage a never ending battle against couch grass!! Planted lots of Yellow Rattle last year to try and control it! I've also grown wildflowers in pots so look forward to seeing the progress of yours and I am sure the flowers will attract loads of insects :)

Lowcarb team member said...

I did enjoy your post here Caroline, lovely to see your photo's.
What an excellent idea that trough is.

Wishing you a Happy Easter Weekend

All the best Jan