I often look back from the pergola towards the steps up to the carpark and imagine the area as a carpet of flowers. Very meadowy, good bio-diverse credentials, beautiful to look at and requiring little in terms of ongoing maintenance.
Here in the southeast Dordogne, we are neither the Garrigue of the Meditteranean nor quite the pastoral meadows of southern England, rather somewhere in-between. Summer's can be hot but not always dry, frost can occur late into April and the soil is alluvial, this is limestone country. It has always left me a little uncertain as to a really good seed mix to sow.
Watching Sarah Raven's recent mini series on the beeb, 'Bees, Butterflys and Blooms' which featured some of the planting developed by Professor Nigel Dunnet, reminded me of a post from Noel Kingsbury's blog entitled, Sheffield - city of flowers. Nigel's work has produced some beautiful annual and perennial seed mixes sold under the name Pictorial Meadows, and after much thought I decided to order 250 grammes of the 'Classic' annual mix yesterday morning, which at a suggested sowing rate of 3 grammes a square metre should give me a little more than I need to cover the 80 square metres or thereabouts I plan to sow.
I've maked out the rough shapes for each side of the path and under the Parasol pines. I'll get rid of the grass, rotavate the soil and get it to a fine tilth before sowing. I am excited - components of the flower mix include Shirley Poppy, California Poppy, Cornflower, Fairy Toadflax, Bishop's Flower, Tickseed and Corn Marigold, Black - eyed Susan, Red Orache and Larkspur.
To be continued.....