Wildflower plants, like the Bird’s Foot Trefoil (lotus tenuis) on the left, can grow as well in domestic gardens as in the wild: they look and smell beautifully natural and require minimum fuss and attention.
Just give your wildflower plants a little space and water so they become established. They then thrive while you sit back and admire!
Wildflower plants need poor soil. Rich compost and other artificial nutrients will often kill them.
To stop the spread of any plant, including ones like the Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis) (right), simply chop off their heads after flowering and before the seeds start to drop.
If you like fabulous surprises, however, leave well alone. Native wildflower plants are pretty clever at planting themselves in unexpected nooks and crannies…and you can always share unwanted babies with neighbours!
On that very subject, only ever give or receive plants when you are 100% certain of their identity. The invasion of some harmful, non native plants such as Japanese Knotweed and Rhododendren could well have started from the best of intentions!
Get it right, though, and imagine these splendid Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) (left), for example, growing in each garden in your road… what a fantastic corridor or chain this would form for the bees, butterfies and other insects.
Similarly, when planting more than one of any native wildflower plant, always group them together. Then, insects have ready access to an easy feast!
In the wild, it’s ‘survival of the fittest’. Native wildflower plants are used to snuggling up nice and close, being overcrowded and fighting for the elements they need. Your wildflowers can, therefore,, be planted near to other plants rather than in splendid isolation.
Space at a premium? A single Devil’s Bit Scabious (Succisia pratensis) is one of the beautiful UK natives which can look lovely in a cultivated border, as well as in a designated wildflower patch.
Creating a ‘wildflower-patch-in-a-patio-pot’ can be very successful. Plant 2 or 3 Betony (Betonica officinalis) or Wild Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). One customer said her plan was to plant 2 chamomile, one each in a small, terracotta pot. On warm evenings now, after work, she sits, glass of wine in hand and feet relaxing on an aromatic mini chamomile lawn!
Just remember, whether you are planting one kind or a mixture, containers are an unnatural setting for native wildflower plants. Poor as possible soil and regular watering in dry weather are key!
Common sense to many: after any gardening/outdoor activity, wash all hands, younger and older. And always be certain of identity and suitability of a plant before consuming any of its parts.