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Jess is in the Garden

Ok, so my 1m x 1m very mini meadow, full of cornfield annuals (sown at exactly the right quantity and the right soil, as per seed seller's instructions) is now looking like an overgrown bed of weeds.

Not enough sun.

Too much rain.

All soggy, floppy, no structure, plants lying on top of other plants.

Argh - it's horrible!

Nothing flowering yet either.

Tempted to quit whilst I'm ahead, as it ain't gonna get any prettier...take the whole lot out underplant with autumn bulbs (Sternbergia) and herbaceous perennials...then loads of snowdrops for Spring.

But I'm having difficulty trying to imagine what type of plants should go there.

Small urban garden by the way, plum slate, raised beds, water feature...this small bed is oval and set into the slate.

It's west facing and gets a lot of sun (when it is actually sunny, which it hasn't been properly in Londo for eons).

Shall I plant many of the same plant, creating a mini drift-of-something? Or a signature plant? Or just have herb. perennials coming through as the snowdrops and cyclamen coums fade? What herb. perennial would be the best for long flowering period?

I have several in my garden already, but am a wee bit stuck for ideas...

Would prefer cool colours - ideally only one - say silver and white, or lilac and purple...

Your expert ideas are much needed as I'm running out of time


Jess is in the Garden

 you can see the bed in question just behind the little girl in the photo - it's a bit taller now but much messier and stragglier!


Is your whole garden contemporary Jess? I'm guessing with the general description it is. I'd suggest grasses & alliums,or a structural, single specimen  like an Acer, or Hebes - perhaps a group of three rounded /mound types like Buxifolia, or something like a Phormium. You could incorporate early bulbs with some of these too.

Or are you leaning towards something softer as you've been trying the wildflowers? 

A pic would be great.

Woodgreen wonderboy

I have a very pretty wild flower area in my garden and just about all the flowering plants have been planted as plants. I don't believe that it is very easy to get going with seed mixes in spite of what the supplier might say ( they would say that wouldn't they)

I started with snowdrops in the green, adding some more each year. Then crocus, frittillarias, cowslips, camassia,narcissi, anenome blanda, orchids and daisies. Birds' foot trefoils arrived of their own volition... presumambly seeing how much the others were enjoying life! Some of these now seed around but I see those as a bonus. 

Every year I add something new, but I grow it in a small pot first and then plant it where I can see a gap. I will mow it once, probably in August/September when most of the flowering is done.  I hope this helps.

Jess is in the Garden


Not sure if it's contemporary - I suppose so! I guess the slate and the raised beds make it look that way. But then other corners are more cottage-graden really and the house itself is a Victorian maisonette. There's also an old Victorian garden wall lurking to the very right of the photo above, part covered in sedum.

Ok here goes with some other pics...

Grasses are a good idea - I have a festuca and a stipa tenuissima already infront of the raised flower bed you can see.

That's the thing with small gardens - you tend to pack in one of everything because you couldn't possibly live without it!

Lots of herb. perennials and evergreen shrubs.

Already have 2 aers (one potted, one in another raised bed).

I toyed with the idea of a phormium (I like "chocomint") but was concerned it would become enormous!

Not sure about Buxus globes. Neighbour across the way has 3 in a row on her windowsill that seem very rigid to me...suppose they could look nicer if softened by other plants...

I wouldn't mind something that grows to about 60/70cm or so, could even be a bit messy like Salvia purple queen but that doesn't flop everywhere!

Thanks for your ideas



I can see a lovely pic FG, but then you remarked on my eyesight earlier 

That looks a lovely meal - any left? 

Do you know what appeals to me - I'd like to give that mini-meadow a good shearing with some garden shears, and dig out some plugs and pop some lovely bellis perennis daisies in there


it'll look a picture for the rest of the summer.  Then you've got time to have a proper think about what you want to do with it 

Jess is in the Garden

Thanks WW - yes, I fear your analysis is correct! I thought seed mix would be an easier and cheaper way to get on with it, but am regretting my decision.

So yours are all perennial wildflowers then?

I like the idea of adding to it as you go on...I am too impatient for my own good sometimes

Jess is in the Garden


I know what you mean about the shearing - the thought had crossed my mind! But there are so many plants on their side now and buds coming through on the tallest plants that I'm worried I'll just kill'em all much would you shear? 

Wish you'd come and do it for me - I'd throw in some of that salami...


Pic wasn't there when I posted Dove!

Jess the Hebes I mentioned are like box - hence the name - but they grow quite large and flower in the summer which the bees like. No clipping - they grow in a mound naturally!

Jess is in the Garden

Oooh I love those daisies Dove.

Thanks FG - I think I know the ones you mean.

So maybe 2 or 3 of them, and surround with...winter/spring bulbs, sterbergia, and possibly something more airy, wispy, to balance out the very neat, rounded forms of the hebes...

Jess is in the Garden

...and to finish answering your question Fg yes, I would love something softer...the slate, raised beds etc already add a certain hardness to my garden, so the plants I have are mainly softer and I'm worried that if I have anything too formal in that middle bed it'll be too much...

Woodgreen wonderboy
Jess is in the Garden wrote (see)

Thanks WW - yes, I fear your analysis is correct! I thought seed mix would be an easier and cheaper way to get on with it, but am regretting my decision.

So yours are all perennial wildflowers then?

I like the idea of adding to it as you go on...I am too impatient for my own good sometimes

All are perennials and most are wildflower species, not the cultivated varieties... for a natural look. There is a succession too from the snowdrops in late Jan/Feb through the fritts, camassia cowslips etc to summer, with daisies, birdsfoot, and orchids at present. In such a small bed as yours I would think of 3 or 4 types, say snowdrops and crocus followed by cowslips and fritts. Always take the long view and you will be surprised how quickly your plans come to fruition.

Jess is in the Garden


WWW - Wise Woodgreen Womderboy

Do cowslips and camassis last the summer? I haven't any of those. My fritillaries finished weeks ago - they were lovely. Have a few in amongst some other shrubs.

Off to google the ones I don't know!

Woodgreen wonderboy

Cowslips and Camassias are for the early summer but mine are over now. Most of the impact at the present is from the ox-eye daisies, which started out as a few small plants and now are seeding around vigourously and could swamp your space. Some orchids would have real impact now.


Jess is in the Garden

Now that's a thought Sara! Always good to add height I suppose - but there is another pergola right next to this bed - would they work together, you think?

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