Last year I was thrilled to have a number of orchids appear in my ‘wild’ garden. I wasn’t sure how the orchids spread, so last year gave a little helping hand and scattered the dried seed towards the end of the summer. Amazingly I have about 30 this year – of two separate varieties – which I believe are Northern Marsh-orchid and Heath Spotted-orchid. I have the stunning and very helpful “Wild Flowers” book by Sarah Raven which has helped with identification – the Northern Marsh-orchid grows prolifically through seed dispersion, so perhaps next year I could have a field of purple?
The plan in this space had been to hire a turf remover, take out the entire top layer of soil to reduce the nutrient level and then to scatter a native seed mix. However, the orchids are so happy that I have changed the plan slightly – now I plan to remove foot-square patches into which I will sow Yellow Rattle and a native seed mix. The Coronation Meadows site for Derbyshire is the starting point for wildflower varieties in my area.
This area of the garden will eventually extend to housing the bee hive – planned for 2018 – but I have always considered it a bit of a wasteland. However, having paged through the “Wild Flowers” book, it is no longer a wasteland, rather a very small wildflower meadow. So far, I have identified 16 varieties. Some, the Common Thistle, Lady’s Mantle, Common Bistort and Ground Elder, need to be carefully managed; but others – such as the Foxgloves, Lesser Stitchwort and Meadow Saxifrage – will hopefully respond well to the decrease in tough grasses through the introduction of Yellow Rattle. I’m also considering adding some historic wild roses to the mix. If only there were more hours in the week!