What’s in a name? The debate continues surrounding headline grabbing ‘Pictorial Meadows’, the invention of Nigel Dunnett professor of planting design in the landscape department of Sheffield University. It’s an adaptation of a cornfield full of annual “weeds”, without the corn and produces a stunningly beautiful display of annual flowers. The issue is with the name, as they aren’t actually meadow flowers, so people are getting confused as to what are Wildflower Meadows and what are Pictorial Meadows. Wildflower Meadows are grasslands comprising native grasses and flowers, mostly perennial, which are grazed or mown for hay and have almost completely disappeared from the UK. Our Director of Conservation, Miles, has had several very interesting and lively debates on the subject, which can be seen here on his Blog.
The reality is (I’ll call them ‘Pictorial Mix’ from now) these seed mixes are suited to small urban gardens where establishing a perennial Wildflower Meadow is just not an option. In my own garden, I’ve sown a ‘Pictorial Pastel Mix’ in my modest 2m2 raised vegetable beds, which my daughter insists looks like a giant cat litter tray. To be honest judging by the number of cats I’ve chased off, she may be right. Anyway, my ‘Pictorial Mix’ contains Gypsophila, Bishop’s flower, Cornflowers & Corn poppies. Not a Wildflower Meadow, but a very pretty show of annual flowers – I hope! I have to admit I’m very concerned that I’ll get any flowers at all, based on the amount of rain we’ve had recently and the fact that my giant cat litter tray is now starting to look more like a Jacuzzi!
Anyway, if my little seedlings can learn to swim & survive, then I’ll be really excited to see what my ‘Pictorial Mix’ delivers and if I see a significant increase in honey bees and pollinating insects visiting my garden. Green fingers crossed!
Jenny Marsden, Finance Manager