The world needs more flowers…it certainly does and with the welcome banning of pesticides that harm our bees and other insects in many countries, including here in France, I have been planning for many years to create a wild flower garden where the bees can hang around the tall Scottish thistles and snapdragons and the honey bees can actually find dandelions in the lawn to get a good start on their pollen year.
I have been collecting wild flower seeds for three years now – from meadows, hedgerows and flowers sown in my own garden. Stuffed into envelopes, labelled with the name if I know it and dated, they are stored in old soup cartons, because I love the bright vegtable pictured packaging.
Our climate is quite harsh here. Often very wet in spring and extremely hot and dry in summer. Last year the wildflowers grew well. This year there are little green sprouts appearing but it’s slow. But then even now our trees haven’t even begun to blossom. Spring comes very late in Limousine. So I have to be patient.
Having expanded our land by recently buying the barn behind ours, my ambition to grow more wildflowers can now take fruition. The chickens and geese are moving to our farmhouse leaving my garden to recover from big rubbery feet flattening ever flower bed and the forest area devoid of any living green thing due to twelve over enthusiastic chickens. A herb garden is to be developed and the rest turned into a cottage garden all higgledy piggledy with climbing flowers, traditional wallflowers and places to sit and enjoy the views.
Now the vegtables are to grow at the farmhouse the little vegtable garden beyond the barn was suddenly surplus to requirements. After working so hard installing raised beds and clearing the brambles to provide a stunning view across the cow fields, a sudden indulgent dream of having a cutting flower garden could possibly work. Packing the beds out with blooms that can fill our homes with colour and scent will make this a wonderful all year round garden and a contrast to the more savage wild one near the barn.
So the plan is to paint the fences in pretty pastels of sage, primrose and chalky duck egg blue; convert our huge green chicken coop into a summer house and restore the grass but with chamomile and clover for the bees.
But for a start I found this wonderful book. Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein of Floret Farm. It’s beautiful, inspiring and informative. The photos are stunning and it will be my bible for the plans ahead.
Well worth a look if you adore flowers, grasses and want to experiment a little too.