Following on from the recent excellent discussion on the award-winning thinkinGardens website about clumping, mingling and the ecological garden style, I was inspired to try something new using native wildflowers (mainly) which grow locally.
I think it’s interesting to notice the similarities between the horticultural search for a decorative self-sustaining plant community and the way we try to recreate lowland meadows in conservation. In the not too distant future, I’m sure there will be little difference between the habitat creators and some of the public landscape designers, bar their palette of plants…and the amount of money involved.
Meanwhile, back at my experiment; I’m going to create a mingly-matrix plant community sort of thing – ish. I’m being a bit vague because it’s a while since I swotted up on my horticultural terminology and I don’t want to mislead you too much.
Choosing the plants has basically been a case of working out what sort of conditions I have and hunting out those that will be happy and grow without much fuss. Then I’ve taken into account whether they tend to spread or stay in a clump or seed about a lot. It also helps to know when they flower (“I want colour all the year round”…”Oh that’s easy. We can definitely do that; do you like green?”), manage something aesthetically pleasing and then bonus points for adding in species of sentimental value. Actually, what I really, really want is “interesting”, so that whenever I look there will always be something new to see – I’m not overly fussed about how colour co-coordinated it will be.
I do, however, have one really big disadvantage in all this …… I live in a first floor flat.
And all of the above has to take place in the pot next to my door: it’s 30 cm wide.
I’ve created a meadow habitat with quaking grass and meadow oat-grass, and then chucked in a scattering of the semi-parasitic yellow rattle as seed to hopefully keep them in check. In between are marjoram, harebell, the deep crimson form of the garden plant Dianthus superbus and a few others. Next to that I’ve an open area of spreading thyme, a clump of thrift, and a few bee orchids just to see how they get on in a pot.
There are 26 different species at present, everything coming free from a recently closed local wildflower nursery (except a thistle which I bought because it was only a pound in the sad plant corner).
So here it is – The Intermingled Pot.
Even I can see it’s not exactly a visual stunner at the moment despite the fact that I’ve left a few seed heads in there, but I blame the photographer for that: Anyway, it’s my garden and I’ll grow what I want – isn’t that what we do as garden makers?