Replacing wildflowers with cultivated grasses

beforepoolThe end of an era. The end of an experiment. If you look in the Farm Tour section of the pool garden bank you will see that we once had a forest of wildflowers here.

That sounds like the opening of a fairy story. Once upon a time there was a forest of wildflowers.  But no. It’s a garden design story. And a lesson in when you have to admit defeat and make a radical change.

Annual or perennial wildflowers take a lot more management than anyone would have you believe.

For annual flowers, you need to resow each spring. And to do that you need bare soil. I spend all my days avoiding bare soil. Bare soil equals weeds, not airy flowers. afterhoriz

Add a steep slope and you will find that all the wildflower seeds will eventually migrate to the bottom of the slope where the soil is a little less parched. Gravity sends the seeds downwards.

Most of my wildflower seeds ended up germinating in the pool decking.

And all that seemed to be left in the whole palette of flower colours were the yellow ones.  One day I need to write an essay about yellow flowers.  Those of you of delicate disposition about the sight of yellow flowers need to look away now. (Lisa H you know that means you.)

bucket achilleaNicolas was booked for one last morning of strimming. So I put down some tarps to collect the debris. (Better on a tarp than in the pool). And I even salvaged as many of the achillea Gold Plate as I could.

This is the tricky bit for those who don’t like yellow flowers. But achillea work very well as a contrast in a vase. And they dry very well upside down in a cool dark place.  They make good dried flowers for the All Hallow’s Eve requests for flowers I get for the placing in cemeteries in November.

But I digress. I did have some nice salvias in here. Some coreopsis. But let’s be frank. I mostly had achillea, false mint, nettles, brambles and docks.

So in about five minutes my years long experiment was cut down. collected grass  I will be mulching heavily with these grass cuttings, plus all I can sweep up from today’s strim.

I will be planting this narrow strip with the grasses that are gasping in the potting shed.  But do I dare do it now? It’s absurdly hot. I might see if I can get up tomorrow early. Or better still. Do a late night planting session and soak again the next day.

First I will need to get my fork into those achillea roots that will lurk in the ground. No more yellow for this particular colour scheme. It will be cool grasses dotted with either drumstick alliums or verbena bonariensis. Rats. I still haven’t put in my bulb order.  Thanks for reminding me.