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Floral meadows

Floral Meadow at the RHS Garden at Wisley. Image ©
Last year both London’s Olympic Park and the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley in Surrey benefited from some lovely plantings of annuals in wild-style meadows. The August day I saw them at Wisley was noticeably dull and overcast and drizzly but the great sweeps of annual flowers still sparkled brightly.

They came from a company called Pictorial Meadows who’ve developed a range of annual and perennial blends in a variety of styles and color themes – some are ideal for containers, others are better on a grand scale. At Wisley, the mown grass paths between them make a big difference.

Years ago, Mr Fothergill’s offered some wonderful color-themed annual mixtures, sourced in Holland. They supplied separate packets of seed of tall, medium and short varieties – and included an astonishing range of around one hundred different annuals in each color-themed pack. They were tremendous – but are, sadly, offered no more.

Pictorial Meadows was founded on the original research on developing floral meadows by Professor Nigel Dunnett at Sheffield University; the university part owns the company. Their offerings of separate mixes in different heights and in different colors are based on years of research and the result was a dull day delight. In North America, American Meadows have a similar range.

But one important thing to keep in mind. Don’t expect these mixture to be made up of native plants. Some are, and those in both the Pictorial Meadows range and the American Meadows range are clearly marked. But don’t expect those simply labeled “wildflower” to be native.

I mention all this now, because now’s the time to get started. You can take a look at the seed sowing instructions from Pictorial Meadows and the advice from American Meadows before you order.