I wanted to take some time today to update you on my two favourite growing projects this summer .. bump and my wildflower meadow! I'm delighted to say both are flourishing.
Since I'm pregnant at 42, I'm technically classed as 'geriatric' (a term which I'm determined to reclaim as a positive!!) My Doctor has wanted me to attend regular growth scans because of my age. It's so funny that they put all this emphasis on a number, I genuinely feel healthier at 42 than I did in my thirties! But hey, I've loved going for scans and each screening is a chance to check bump is healthy, growing well and nice and relaxed - which I'm thankful to say is the case.
My first trimester nausea stopped long enough ago for me to forget how horrendous it felt! My second trimester skin flare up is now lovely and calm, so for my third trimester I just have intense swelling and painful carpal tunnel to contend with. My feet no longer fit inside proper shoes and my hands are so tingly and painful they wake me up in the middle of the night with a feeling of somebody stamping on them - aaah the joys ;) I'm wearing wrist splints (which don't feel much more comfortable to sleep in) and applying ice and heat packs. But any other advice on reducing swelling would be greatly appreciated.
Besides that, for a pregnant pensioner I feel remarkably fit and healthy. I'm still hiking as much as possible, although the uphill stretches are taking significantly longer! I'm taking my probiotic each morning and eating a healthy and varied plant-based diet, although the mild obsession with fresh mango continues.
September here in Derbyshire is proving consistently more summery than July so far, with temperatures in the low twenties most days. I'm loving this chance to get the garden tidied in time for winter without having to wear a million layers and waterproofs. It's also helping the wildflower meadow to thrive, with bursts of colour which I hope will last until at least October. It seems such a shame to mow it .. but in the coming weeks, that's what we'll have to do.
Since posting pics in my stories, I've been asked so many questions and appreciated all your kind comments about how this plot has changed over the summer. I researched a lot of options and read many books before we decided how to prepare the ground and which seeds to sow. If you're wanting to create a wildflower oasis, I hope you find this guide timesaving and helpful. This is definitely not an ad!! It's simply intended to make life easier if you're wanting to try sowing a meadow.
We bought our wild-flower seeds from MeadowMania.co.uk. They have great customer reviews and Tim there has been super helpful with his advice. The packets I've sown in this space are:
- Native Traditional British Wild Flower Seed Mix 100g
- Instant Sunshine Annual/Perennial 100% Seed Mix 90g
- Instant Sunshine Mini Meadow 100g
If you don’t remember how the area looked before, it was basically a dumping ground for concrete, slabs and building waste. The dry stone walls had collapsed inwards and it looked generally untidy and unusable. We hired a digger to clear the site, salvaging the stone, which was then used to rebuild the drystone walls. We rotavated to dig out the smaller rocks, then raked by hand to dig out the final stones.
To sow the flowers, we mixed the seeds with building sand and scattered on top of the soil before raking in. The purpose of the sand was to help us see where we were scattering seeds. We were slightly late in sowing (late July) but fortunately the Derbyshire rains helped encourage flowers! Ideally a flower meadow should be planted after the last frost, so closer to May / June time.
We’re planning to add some fruit trees this winter - apple, pear, plum - which will hopefully appreciate all the butterflies and bees below them pollinating the blossom in Spring.
The flower meadow should grow back even stronger, with more plant varieties next year. Wildflower meadows do require a maintenance programme to allow the wanted species to flourish and to stop the rampant species taking over! This mostly involves mowing and weed control. A spring, summer and autumn cut is recommended. The meadow should not require watering. Whilst it can feel tempting to add compost and manure, wildflower meadows actually thrive in poor quality soil, so improving soil quality through watering or feeding will only attract unwanted grasses.
I hope these pretty colours brighten your day and inspire you to create a little floral oasis in your garden too.
THE MIXES WE BOUGHT
Native Traditional British Wild Flower Seed Mix
- Will cope on most soil types. Attractive especially to bees and butterflies
- 12 Wild Flower species 3 annuals Field Borage, Poppy & Cornflowers and 9 perennials
- Once established it will come back year after year and give a colourful show in the summer
- Best suited if sown onto bare soil
- Borage, Poppies and Cornflower in the first year. Other species come to the fore in year 2
Borage 7%, Corn Poppy (Papaver Rhoeas) 10.0%, Cornflower (Centaurea Cyanus) 8.0%, Lesser Knapweed (Centuarea Nigra) 3%, Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata) 2.0%, Ox Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum Vulgare) 3.00%, Red Campion (Silene Dioica) 15.0%, Wild Red Clover 5.0%, Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) 12.0%, Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba Minor) 15.0%, Self heal (Prunella vulgaris) 5.0%, White Campion (Silene Alba) 12.0%, Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) 3.0%
Instant Sunshine Annual/Perennial 100% Seed Mix
- A mix of over 20 annuals and biennial wild flower species from over the world. Also includes over 20 Native & perennial species Designed to give maximum impact in year one
- Perennials will then come back year after year
- Attractive, to butterflies, bees and insects
- Quick to grow long flowering season
Annuals 50% include Virginia Stocks, Mixed ,Larkspur mixed , Echium, Cosmos mixed Gypsophila, Candytuft . Chrysanthemum mixed, Mignonette. Night Scented Stock, Calendula, Alyssum Maritimum. Gypsophila Covent Garden, Godetia. Linum flowers Nigella Nigella, Tagetes Patula seeds,Adonis Aestivalis. Dimorphotheca.. Coreopsis tinctoria ,Cornflower, Eschscholzia Yellow, (Californian Poppy) California poppy ,Rudbeckia Yellow, Corn Cockle, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Field Poppy, Corn Chamomile, Scented Mayweed, night flowering catchfly, For Get me Not and Long headed Poppy Corn Cockle
Perennials 50% include Birdsfoot Trefoil, Betony, Cornflower Perennial, Poppy Perennial, Cowslip, Dames Violet, Field Scabious Maltese Cross, Meadow Buttercup Meadow Vetchling, Musk Mallow Ox Eye Daisy, Ragged Robin,, Red Campion , Ribwort Plantain, Rough Hawkbit, Salad Burnet, Self Heal , Small Scabious,, Tickseed, Common Sorrel , White Campion , Wild Carrot ,Yarrow, Yellow Rattle
Wild Flower Instant Sunshine Mini Meadow 100 Grams
- New improved mix contains native and non native annuals and perennials
- Mass of Colour in first year. Perennials come back year after year
- Attractive to bees, Butterflies and other Wildlife
- Annuals will flower in first year. Then the perennials will come back from year two year after year
Annuals 10% include Virginia Stocks, Mixed ,Larkspur mixed , Echium, Cosmos mixed Gypsophila, Candytuft, Chrysanthemum mixed, Mignonette. Night Scented Stock, Calendula, Alyssum Maritimum. Gypsophila Covent Garden, Godetia. Linum flowers Nigella Nigella, Tagetes Patula seeds,Adonis Aestivalis. Dimorphotheca.. Coreopsis tinctoria ,Cornflower, Eschscholzia Yellow, (Californian Poppy) California poppy ,Rudbeckia Yellow, Corn Cockle, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Field Poppy, Corn Chamomile, Scented Mayweed, night flowering catchfly, For Get me Not and Long headed Poppy Corn Cockle
Perennials 10% include Birdsfoot Trefoil, Betony, Cornflower Perennial, Poppy Perennial, Cowslip, Dames Violet, Field Scabious Maltese Cross, Meadow Buttercup Meadow Vetchling, Musk Mallow Ox Eye Daisy, Ragged Robin,, Red Campion , Ribwort Plantain, Rough Hawkbit, Salad Burnet, Self Heal , Small Scabious,, Tickseed, Common Sorrel , White Campion , Wild Carrot ,Yarrow, Yellow Rattle, Browntop bent 5% Crested Dogstail 5%, Sheeps Fescue, 23%, Chewings Fescue 25%, Slender Creeping Red Fescue 20%, Yellow oat Grass 1%, Sweet Vernal Grass 1%