THE POTTED GARDEN:
A WILDFLOWER MEADOW
Growing wild flowers in containers is a great way of introducing a multitude of colours into a growing area whilst attracting pollinators at the same
Wild flowers can look stunning in a window box or a pot or trough and are a great way to bring the countryside into an urban garden.
There are several options when it comes to selecting seeds. You can mix different varieties together yourself so you have your own tailor made seed mix. You can go for one of the pre-mixed wild flower seed packs that are available in garden centres or via mail order, or you could try some seedballs – native wild flower seeds are mixed together with compost to form small balls that can be scattered where you want flowers to grow (www.seedball.com).
Whichever you choose, there are a variety of different meadow mixes that work really well in containers and will incorporate some well known naive varieties including:
Forget Me Not – a small plant with dainty blue-grey flowers, flowers April to October
Red Campion – with its small red pink petals, flowers March to November
Yarrow – an aromatic herb with an umbrella of tiny white flowers, flowers June to August
Purple Loosestrife – a spectacular spike of magenta flowers, flowers June to August
Musk Mallow – swathes of small rose pink petals, flowers June to August
Keep in mind that wildflowers do not like too rich a compost – they prefer poor soil with few nutrients – so choose a pot with good drainage holes in the base and mix a little compost with your garden soil and maybe a handful of gravel. Make sure you read the seed pack to find out how much seed to sow for the size of your pot and, as wild flower seeds can be on the small side, mix them with a bit of sand as it makes distributing them easier. Once scattered water gently and keep the soil damp until the seeds have germinated. Place in an open sunny spot and turn the container occasionally, especially if placed against a wall, to avoid lopsidedness. Don’t overwater.
If you grow wild flowers until they go to seed then you can save the seeds for the following year. Planting seeds in the autumn, a couple of months before frost starts, is a great way of ensuring early spring growth, or you can sow seeds directly into containers in the spring when the weather is frost free.
If pots and containers are just part of your outside space then here are some gardening tips for this month from the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society):
• Look after your lawn – weed it and seed it
• Pick and harvest summer fruits
• Bring tender houseplants inside
• Continue to sow vegetables
• Clear out the greenhouse
• Collect and sow seeds gathered from plants in the garden
• Plant spring flowering bulbs