Friday, 23 August 2013

Wildflowers on my edge


More about corn marigolds



View from our conservatory window
My neighbouring farmer calls it his ‘garden field’ because it’s only five acres! I am most grateful to him when each year he fails to use his herbicide on a strip of his ‘corn’ on the edge of my plot. I don’t know why he does it, but I would like to publicly thank him. Perhaps, like me, he loves to see the beautiful corn marigolds, perhaps he gets a grant to leave a strip of wildflowers or perhaps he is just scared that I might get cross if his spray drifts on my garden! It really is quite startling to think how beautiful his field would be if he did not spray at all - and how that would decimate his yield!

She takes more than her share

Corn marigolds have self seeded into my garden
Reciprocal arrangement
The corn marigolds had been flowering all of eight weeks when the two pictures below were taken. I wonder if I should now collect some seed to scatter elsewhere. (I offered some to a visiting party last night but they were too shy to step into the field!). Corn marigolds will grow in any open sunny situation. 




From the field looking in, the edge of the field is planted with six foot tall Helianthus.It is completely hiding my dwarf brick boundary wall. When we moved in the edge of the field was lined with nettles and marestail. Divisions of my garden plants have  somehow replaced them! In my dreams it would be wonderful if it was normal for fields to be lined with garden flowers. Of course it should not be at the expense of wildflowers but it is starting to be realised and supported by research evidence that bee and butterfly friendly garden plants  at the edge of fields helps to increase insect populations.

With apologies for pinching  and amending their title to Nan Sykes and Margaret Atherden authors of ‘Wildflowers on the edge’.
Link to my review of Wildflowers on the edge.


14 comments:

  1. When we visited I loved how you had an open view of the neighbouring fields from your patio.

    I think farmers are being given a grant to maintain wild strips around fields to create a wildlife superhighway. Our gardens can only really provide island retreats unless we all plant with wildlife in mind. The concrete jungles that many prefer make this unlikely to happen.

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    1. Unfortunately many farmers take their grant and grow weeds! They do not manage them in such a way as to grow real wildflowers and garden plants are a step too far. I too think prairie style methods might have a future where the perennial herbaceous plants can be established from seed.

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  2. That really is a special view Roger, I can see why you are grateful that he doesn't spray that strip.
    We have many grass verges in my village and how much more practical and wildlife friendly if they were to turn them over to wildflowers or plants.
    We (our Residents Association)lobbied to have a few of them turned to wildflower areas and when our request was denied we tried ourselves but unfortunately, local authority grass cutting regime isn't conducive to wildflower strips!

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    1. I expect you have read 'Wildflowers on the Edge' Angie, and you read there about the difficulties of local authorities mowing regimes. As long as they do not use herbicides I wonder about the use of plants that withstand mowing including lawn weeds (such as prunella). In my garden I use pratia in parts of my lawn.
      I have been racking my brains all night to remember the title of a book about ecological plantings in mown grass. When the eureka moment comes I will tell you. I still have Lysimachia nemorum a lovely creeping yellow wildflower that I originally purchased from the writer's nursery. It was on sale at my open day, NOBODY wanted it!

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  3. Agriculture can't really compete with nature at its best when miracles happen! I noticed that you have saucers attached to the bottom of your bird feeders, you may have mentioned this before but I am interested to know if it is purely for the sake of tidiness or were they attached when you bought the feeders?

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    1. Brenda was concerned about all the seed falling to the ground. I am concerned when they germinate as a weed! She suggested to my brother-in-law Dave Smith that he fixed plastic drip collecting trays at the base. They work very well. This morning after last night's rain they are serving as a paddling pool!

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    2. I have saucers too but the birds scatter the seeds off and they DO germinate as weeds!

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    3. You are quite right Sue, I was wearing my rose coloured spectacles when I wrote this!
      Cathi-next-door has lettuce coming up in her paving from seed dropped from her bird table!

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    4. Roger, we have the same problem with fallen seed germinating. My solution is to use the cheapest metal pizza trays from Wilko, hooked to the bottom of a feeder using a spare set of hanging basket chains.

      The circular pizza trays have holes in so rain goes straight through and there are plenty of birds (and occasionally a red squirrel) who sit on the trays using them as a bird table.

      The only problem is when we get really high winds and they bang about, so I take them down until the weather improves :}

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    5. Thanks Bilbo for this excellent advice. I think I should now call you 'Lord of the Wings'

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    6. {{{giggle}}}

      silly boy, go and lie down in a darkened tool shed :}

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  4. You have a lovely view over the marigolds in the field and with about the same colour high Helianthus it all looks beautiful together. You have a nice farmer as neighbour.

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    1. One of the memorable things about a cycling holiday in your lovely country, Holland, was how many of your farmers had also beautiful gardens. In the UK this is rare unless their wives are gardeners!

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  5. Roger, you are so right - British farms are not noted for their visual attractiveness! I like your dream of having all the fields bordered with flowers: just imagine what our country would look like when seen from the air!

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