The Wildflower Garden

In 2012 part of our walled garden collapsed crushing everything underneath it – granted there was little but ivy, brambles and some sad-looking fuchsias, but it was an area of garden that I’d been happy to ignore. The plot was an awkward shape, partly shaded, very poor soil, needed lots of work and frankly had become a dumping ground for random “things”….bathtubs, tables, radiators – “things” still being used or discarded while we renovated the house.

With every penny being spent on the house, I decided the cheapest option was to rebuild the wall myself …..

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So the Easter weekend arrived and unusually, the weather forecast was looking good.

On the Friday I began climbing over the rubble and promptly stood on a loose section which gave way, fell over and landed badly on the bricks. This left me with bruising across my chest and down to my hips and further bruising from my thigh to my knees – not the best start but at least there was nothing more serious.

By the end of Friday, most of the rubble had been cleared and we’d taken down the remaining loose sections of wall, removing the trunk of the ivy growing through its centre – obviously the main factor in the walls demise. We’d also taken down most of the wall next to the shed which was only held together by the ivy growing on it and through it.

It took most of Saturday to clean up the bricks for reuse ….. mainly because I was now very sore and my bruises were developing nicely. By Sunday I was ready to start rebuilding. Now at this point you’ll be expecting another disaster, but no, it went surprisingly well. I didn’t finish the rebuild until about 10pm on the Monday, by which point it was raining and I was working under a tarp held by my husband, but it did get finished. The wall may not be perfect, but it is stable and I am proud of it.

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It took a further 4 weeks of weekend work to actually clear the brambles, ivy, bindweed, bits of rubble and level the area. We decided to put an additional small wall around the edge of the area and to fill with gravel between this and the tarmac – mainly for safety but also to tidy the edge until such time as we can replace the tarmac.

I think the biggest surprise was how big a space we now had – we just needed to decide what to do with it.

It was around this time that the BBC broadcast a series of programs hosted by Sarah Raven about the rapid decline in Britain’s essential bees, butterflies and pollinating insects. It inspired me to try to create my own wildflower area and although the ideal time of year to sow was gone, (it was now June), I figured there was nothing to lose, purchased the seed and waited for it to arrive.

Now in hindsight I scattered the seed to thickly and ran out before I covered the whole bed, so had to get some additional seed mix for the remaining section. I honestly thought we’d get very little in this first year, but how wrong I was…….

Within a few weeks the bed was green….at this point I am still convinced I had a bed of weeds.

By the end of July the colours, the insect sounds, and the variety of flowers was amazing.

By the end of the summer I had developed a bit of an obsession; No matter where I went, I’d be on the lookout for new species I could add, such as black cornflower and white campion; If I saw some wildflowers growing in the hedgerows such as toadflax, I’d try to get some seed; In autumn I planted some spring bulbs such as aconite and snowdrops to give some early interest. The meadow has gone from strength to strength and it has been amazing how easy it’s been to establish and maintain. 2013 saw some major differences in the types of flowers and density and so I’ve decided to do “A Year in the Life” blog showing these changes as each month progresses, and I’m sure I will keep adding varieties and trying to extend the seasonal interest for many years to come.

Watch this space for the new blog – I hope it helps you to be inspired.