The two areas of grass-free pictorial meadows within the grass slopes near the tea-rooms at Lady Farm were absolutely dazzling. They consisted of three beds, two of a short mixture of different annual wild and cultivated flowers and one of a taller mixture. The shorter plantings were densely sown with Fairy Toadflax. Red Flax, Californian Poppy, Convolvulus minor, Love in the Mist, Candytuft, Larkspur and Dwarf Cornflower: these would reach 30-40 cm high. The taller planting was in a single bed and the present colours were softer with plants chosen to bloom from June to November starting with blues, pinks and white developing to yellow, orange and red flowers for autumn. These included Shirley Poppy, Californian Poppy, Cornflower, Fairy Toadflax, Red Flax, Bishops Flower, Tickseed, Corn Marigold, Black-eyed Susan, Red Orache and Larkspur and would ultimately reach 60-80 cm. The seed mixes for these plantings were developed at Sheffield University by Dr. Nigel Dunnett to provide low maintenance high impact flowering so they contain both native wild flowers and cultivated garden species of annuals.
As I was so captivated by these splashes of colour I determined to find out where I could find the seed. This proved to be very easy and I sourced the seeds without really any effort. We were due to visit Garden Organic so while there I picked up a copy of their catalogue to find some salad seed and while looking through found the seed for the afore-mentioned plantings. Also in the gardening section of the Saturday Telegraph I read an article on these colourful little meadows.
The seeds are quite expensive costing about £6.50 for 10 grams. I liked the fact that all the plants were listed with their old country names and not the botanical ones.
First published in the Worcestershire Group Newsletter, Autumn 2009
and subsequently in Cornucopia Issue 27.
© Copyright for this article: Judy Pollitt
This article was taken from a copy of Cornucopia that was published in 2011. You could be reading these articles as they are published to a national audience, by subscribing to Cornucopia.