See me at the BBC Countryfile Live Show

I will be at the BBC Countryfile Live Show at Blenheim Palace from Aug 4th till 7th (Thursday till Sunday), come and see me at stand J107 in the garden area near the main arena.

Visit 'Wild Flower Lawns and Meadows' at the Show

Visit ‘Wild Flower Lawns and Meadows’ at the Show

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Enhancing a grassy field using Yellow Rattle seed

Part of my work is to advise on wild flower meadow creation and management, sometimes I carry out the work too with my colleague. Here is a field we sowed with Yellow Rattle seed in 2011 to reduce the grass vigour and open up the sward and then we added wild flower seeds.

Field in its original grassy state

Field in its original state 2011

The results five years later.

The results five years later in 2016

Once Yellow Rattle was established in one part of the large field we collected its seed with our ‘flail collector mower’ and dropped and spread the cuttings in other parts which needed more Yellow Rattle and we did the same with seed from wild flowers which had established elsewhere within the field.

This is a longer process to reach the end result compared to creating a wild flower meadow anew from bare ground whereby full colour can be achieved within a year but on the right sites it is very achievable and benefits from no use of any chemicals which often need to be employed when creating a meadow from scratch where weeds are potentially a big issue when bare ground is created. I find this enhancement method is better where wild rabbits are a threat which would otherwise destroy a newly germinating meadow coming up from bare ground.

An area of the field still requiring Yellow Rattle colonisation in 2015

An area of the field still requiring Yellow Rattle colonisation in 2015

Preparing the area to receive the seed

Preparing the area to receive the seed

That's how tight I like it cut before spreading on the cuttings containing the seeds

This is how tight I like the grass cut before spreading the cuttings containing the seeds

The Yellow Rattle seed rich cuttings being scattered on the required area

The Yellow Rattle seed rich cuttings being scattered on the required area

The results of adding the Yellow Rattle seed rich cuttings in late summer 2015, photo taken late July 2016 showing swathes of Yellow Rattle seed heads

The results of adding the Yellow Rattle seed rich cuttings in late summer 2015 photo taken late July 2016 after flowering, showing swathes of dark Yellow Rattle seed heads amongst the grass which is now less dense

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Bulbs of individual wild flower species for sale

I now have bulbs of individual wild flower species for sale in addition to my mixed species collections.

Bulbs are great if you wish for quick flowering in woodland and shaded areas, as they reach flowering quicker than seed, which is slower to establish in such situations. They can also be used in open areas just as well. In fact the fragrant Wild Tulip flowers better in the open than under shade.

I also sell rhizomes of Wood Anemone for creating that woodland carpet of white.

Below you will see photos of each of the eleven bulb species I have available. To visit my product page to purchase any click here.

Our native Wood Anemone

A white carpet of Wood Anemones in April

A yellow carpet of native Lesser Celandines in April

Bulbs are easy to handle and will come with simple planting instructions. To view my bulb planting instruction sheet click here. Note that many bulbs need to settle in once planted and so not all will flower in their first year but all should from their second year. They will multiply in number each year too :).

English Bluebells

Wild Tulip

Snakes Head Fritillary

Native Wild Daffodils

Wild Garlic

Native Wild Garlic

Wild Cyclamen

The fragrant Lily Of The Valley



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Artificial Grass – Perfect Turf

Although wild flower areas are well provided for around my office, the main path to my doors is not a mown strip through wild flower grassland, it is artificial grass. This may come as a surprise to some, but artificial grass has come a long way since its early days. I like it because it drains well and does not get muddy after rains or icy in the winter. It looks great, like a neatly mown lawn and is far nicer and softer than concrete or paving slabs. It is also maintenance free.

So many people have asked about my artificial grass that I have now added it to the products for sale on my website. I sell two types of artificial grass because these are the two I like the best out of many I have tested. To see them click here.

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Debbie and Mark take the podium

For a change I am lending my blog page to friend and her colleague, two garden designers who need a platform to present their findings from a very worthy research project on the importance of gardens in care homes and especially dementia care homes. A book and guidance tool is being written which is being self-financed and they are looking for support with this. Many of us have known elderly friends or relatives living with this distressing condition and it is so uplifting to see a person living with dementia re-connect with their surroundings and engage again in the here and now, which is why the book is being written, but I will leave the rest to Debbie and Mark so for a quick and interesting read click here to read their article in ‘Living Life ‘ magazine (you may need to right click your mouse and click ‘rotate clockwise’ as the magazine appears on its side when I view it).

Next I suggest you have a look at this background article about their project and watch their brief video by clicking here and to see how we can support them.

Debbie and Mark....caring souls

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Lesser Celandine seed

A yellow carpet of Lesser Celandines in April

Lesser Celandine is a useful plant for shaded areas to provide colour during spring where little else will grow. It spreads effectively and can produce carpets of yellow flowers under trees, on shaded hedge-banks and in woodland.

Lesser Celandines in flower

The seeds develop into little tubers, storing extra food for the plants growth within shaded areas where light is limited. If you wish to buy these seeds I sell them on my Additional species/rarities page which you can view by clicking here.

Lesser Celandine seed

Posted in Wild flowers up close |

Wood Anemone seed

A white carpet of Wood Anemones in April

Wood Anemone is one of the most beautiful of our native wild flowers of woodland and hedge-bank. During early spring it can carpet a woodland in white. Each flower is a gorgeous clean white.

Wood Anemone flowers

The beauty of the Wood Anemone

It is a tricky seed to collect as the window of opportunity is very narrow as it drops its seed very soon after its flower petals drop. A few weeks after that its leaves die away and there is no evidence of the plant above ground within a woodland until the following spring when it reappears to carpet the woodland once more.

It is tolerant of quite heavy shade, as it develops a rhizome following germination from seed to store food and this enables it to spread like a carpet over the years within a woodland. It often occurs together with our native Bluebell, which flowers just as the Wood Anemone finishes. If you wish to buy Wood Anemone seed or native Bluebell seed you can find them on my ‘Additional Species/Rarities’ page by clicking here.

Wood Anemone seed

Posted in Wild flowers up close |

Great Dixter and Yellow Rattle

Last June I went over to Great Dixter to catch up with my friend Fergus.

At Great Dixter with my friend Fergus

We have both spent many years experimenting with our wild flower meadow creations and share a passion for this type of landscape. Fergus has a great display of orchids around his gardens, these below are Common Spotted Orchids but he also has Green Winged Orchids, the seeds of which I have collected for adding to my seed mixes.

Common Spotted Orchids in his Garden

Fergus was keen to show me his bumper display of Yellow Rattle which was indeed impressive.

Fergus in his meadow at Great Dixter ablaze with Yellow Rattle

Yellow Rattle or Hay Rattle as it is also known, is a native annual wild flower with a very useful ability to suppress grass growth within a wild flower meadow. This makes it a very useful inclusion indeed!

This function is as a result of it being semi-parasitic on grasses, which means it takes nourishment from the grass by attaching to its roots hence weakening the grass growth. Yellow Rattle does also create its own nourishment from photosynthesis, so it has some independence also when grass is sparse.

I include this attractive wild flower in all of my perennial wild flower meadow seed mixtures and will also often add it to existing wild flower meadows if it is absent. Once established it can be dramatic some years when it really gets to grip with grasses providing a yellow blanket of colour during late May and June.

To introduce Yellow Rattle to a meadow first cut the grass short and remove the cuttings (or take a hay cut from the field) and then anytime between August and February scatter Yellow Rattle seeds over the surface of the ground. To see what seed rates to use in a grassland area, and for prices of my Yellow Rattle seed packs click here. Following seeding you should expect to see germinating seedlings from April, their little serrated leaves poking up through the short grass. These plants will be flowering from May to August.

The reason why this plant is so called will be evident when you walk through the meadow on a dry summer’s day and the rattling sounds of the seeds within their pods will greet your ear. As individual plants set seed at different times, the Yellow Rattle within the meadow will start dropping their seeds from June onwards, so in advance of a hay cut. When the field is cut or the sward disturbed the seeds drop out readily to provide a new population of these valuable and attractive annual plants for the following year.

What a carpet of yellow rattle

Posted in Wild flower grasslands |

Wild Daffodils for sale

I now have English Wild Daffodils for sale Narcissus pseudonarcissus. They flower February to April and are just as happy in gardens as in woodlands.

Wild Daffodils

I have them available as part of my winter and spring flowering bulb collection which you can view by clicking here.

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Bluebells for sale

I now have our native English Bluebells for sale. The iconic woodland wild flower which will also grow well in gardens.

I have them available as part of my winter and spring flowering bulb collection which you can view by clicking here.

Bluebell with visitor

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