The Friendly Veg Patch

Vegetable GardenWe’re off to Glastonbury this afternoon, so I thought time for a bit of gardening psychedelia. You might remember in spring I sowed some annual wildflowers in a bed next to gardener Mike’s veg garden extension, to show what they would look like in a formal garden setting and as part of my companion planting. There was an old greenhouse there previously, so lots of hardcore and rubble. Perfect. Well, time for an update. I’m not sure what an aesthete might think about the rather lively combination of Cornflowers and Corn Marigolds with nasturtiums, but I love it – as do all sorts of helpful insects. Glasto here we come!

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Annual Wildflowers in Your Garden

annual wildflowers in the gardenAs part of Gardener Mike’s fantastic veg garden extension we’re doing a fair bit of companion planting. In addition to some traditional annuals – Nasturtium, French marigold, and Poached Egg plants – we’ve put aside a bed for annual wildflowers. Not only will it look stunning, but it will be a nectar magnet for all sorts of helpful pollinators in high summer. We weeded a south facing sunny bed next to the base of an old greenhouse, so the soil is poor – full of hardcore. Perfect. Annual wildflowers in the gardenI sowed a chunk of our Cornfield annual mix around three weeks ago, and now you can almost see the seedlings growing as you watch. This mix includes some of our most beautiful native flowers, like the Cornflower – now astonishingly rare in the wild. Frustratingly, many folk seem to leave their annual wildflowers to get on with it once they’ve sown them, with the consequence that they just disappear after a year. Ours will keep on repeating, as I’m going to follow Richard Brown of Emorsgate’s regime:

I can’t wait to post the pictures of what the bed will look like in June – or better a video, so you can see the bees, butterflies, and hoverflies zipping around it. Absolutely vibrant. I promise that you won’t be able to resist – better start thinking where you could fit one in now…

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More Plants Please

Thank goodness that on the day the BBC covered a depressing new piece of research on the declining number of commonly grown plant species with the headline Plant Loss Leads to Fewer Bees (Gee – you think?) I was due to pop in to see Jekka’s Herb Farm, north of Bristol. Over 600 organically grown herbs from all over the world, including some really nice native herbs. I picked up some interesting companion plants for the vegetable garden extension; Buddleia Mint, Creeping Savory, Woad, Pitcher Sage, and Perennial Borage. I couldn’t resist Tanzanian Basil and Chilean Guava either, and I’m mulling an Incense Plant (gorgeous, but I bet I’ll kill it). Tesco – sorry – Dobbies, eat your heart out; your online gardening shop (biggest ever half price sale now on) currently sells Santa chocolate fondue sets but apparently no plants at all…