May 2011 – The wild flower garden

Apparently April was one of the driest Aprils on record and despite the lack of rain it has, as the poem says, brought May flowers. So much so that I decided to do a survey of the wild flowers in our garden. One flower I found that I had never noticed before looked like a miniature sweet pea. I found it at opposite ends of the garden, in the yard a yellow and purple variety (Bush Vetch) whilst at the front gate a beautiful deep pink (Common Vetch).

Continuing on the wild flower theme – I’ve made some changes to the circular cut flower beds in the orchard that I planted last year. These were heavy on maintenance – firstly, because I tried several methods of protecting the bulbs from the chickens and ducks, which were drawn to the bare soil; secondly, the lilies and gladioli needed supporting and thirdly, Oh the weeding and watering! Nature has now lent a hand.

Over the winter I never got round to mulching the bare soil and now the beds are filled with wildflowers alongside my lilies and irises. The chickens and ducks are no longer interested, as there is no bare soil, the cut flowers are held upright by the surrounding wild plants and thank you Nature – no more weeding or watering. She even managed to colour co-ordinate the beds, with yellow buttercups and pink foxgloves forming the perfect backdrop to my yellow irises. On sunny days there is the contented hum of insects, perfect for pollinating the orchard.

What a coincidence – I’ve just watched the Chelsea Flower Show on the BBC and apparently this style of wild gardening mixing wild and cultivated flowers was designed  by an Irish man, ‘William Robinson’ and was championed by the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement. I’d like to say that my flower beds were by design, but in my case it was just by chance!

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