Here’s a simple low maintenance idea which will cut down on the time it takes to look after your garden and it’s beautiful too.
I was talking about this low maintenance idea to my next door neighbour, Frances, on the allotments and she decided to give it a go. She treats her allotment as you would your garden where she has a lovely mix of flowers, vegetables, soft fruit and fruit trees as well as a tiny lawn, a shed and a green house. It’s a delightful space for humans and wildlife alike.
“You don’t have to cultivate every inch of your garden.”
Frances has had this allotment for years and she knows exactly what to do with it but this year, she became disheartened by the amount of effort it was taking to stay on top of everything. It didn’t help that there was very little rain this spring and the early seedlings she put in just did not thrive. Which was the point that I suggested to her that there was no rule that says she had to cultivate the whole allotment.
The solution was easy and versatile.
Frances decided to use the space that had become too much for her to look after, to sow a packet of mixed annual seed to bring some colour to the allotment and create a source of nectar for the bees. Check out Pinterest for examples of good meadow spaces by clicking here.
So did it work?
Oh, yes ! The result is a very charming carpet of flowers that are a delight to look at, as you will see from the photo. The bees and other insects love it too. Yes, there are plants that are classed as weeds in amongst the poppies and other flowers but working on the principle of ‘Out of sight, out of mind’, they are not causing Frances any concern and as a result, she’s not done anything with this part of her allotment since the end of May – except enjoy it, of course.
I love this approach to low maintenance. It is quick, easy and produces stunning results and whilst the flowers are there, you are totally justified in leaving them to get on with it. So it’s totally maintenance free for a number of months.
Annual seed mixes like this one are now readily available and they have been designed quite carefully to have successional plants within them so there is something to look at over quite a long period of time with some mixes providing interest from June through to the first frosts. Another great thing about these seed mixes is that it doesn’t matter how big or small the area is you want to sow them in is. Application rates will be on the back of the packet so just buy the right number of packets to cover the area you’ve got.
Cons – just so you know
But … as with everything, there is a downside to consider too. These mixes perform well if the seed bed is properly prepared. The better the preparation of the bed, the better the subsequent show is so work is required at the beginning of the season. How much you will have to do depends on the state of the area you intend to sow. Unfortunately, if the seed bed is infested with pernicious weeds, the performance of the annual seed mix will be hampered by the competition from them, so it would be a good idea to address the weed issue before you sow. At the end of the season, these annual plants will be dead and therefore look unsightly so you will want to take them out or you could rotavate them into the soil to break down there but either way, work is required at this stage too.
In addition, the use of annual seed mixes is not a long term solution. In my experience, they will look amazing for a number of years but by their very nature, these annuals are always attempting to set seed and over the years, the reservoir of seeds within the soil accumulates so that gradually an imbalance develops in the flowers that germinate. For obvious reasons, those that flower and set seed early become the dominant species.
Personally, I think these mixes are a brilliant solution to cutting down on the maintenance in the garden at a time when there is so much else to do.
FREE book to help you get started (if you live in the UK).
To help you get started with your garden, I’m offering you a free copy of my book ‘The Garden Equation.How to make your garden into a delightful part of your lifestyle’ FOR THIS MONTH ONLY. You can get your copy by registering your details on our website homepage. You need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it, so don’t give up!
Or you can email me – I’m happy to help..
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