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your garden: Good meadow winner; Relax and let your inhibitions run wild for colourful and stunning displays every year.

Byline: Bill Chudziak

In 1870, William Robinson started a long-lasting craze inspired by vast displays of wild daffies in meadows. He urged people to imitate Mother Nature and plant spring bulbs in the rough grass of our "pleasure grounds".

Back then, wildflife gardening was regarded merely as an enjoyable pursuit with none of the the modern compulsion to go green.

But global warming and its effects are of the here and now.

Wildlife gardening was once a horticultural sideline but I believe it should be applied to any wild ground.

Huge areas of land could be converted to a free-for-all wild flower meadow - after all, they are no longer the exclusive preserve of the daffodil.


Granny's Bonnets - or aquilegias - will self-seed in tall meadow grass and there are plenty of quality hybrids to choose from.

This wee stunner is 'Rose and White' which produces several progeny in the red end of the spectrum. It is an early summer flowering perennial which sets seed in July.

When you cut the meadow in high summer, the aquilegia seeds fall straight to the ground.

Their pretty displays year after year are testament to their high germination rates.


Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' has creamy-apricot 'bottlebrush' flowers adored by bees and butterflies.

It does just as well in the wild flower meadow and flowers alongside the aquilegias at 2ft tall, enjoying full sun and average soil.

This high nectar perennial looks in keeping amid rough grass and coarser plants.


Also known as Lady in the Bath, Dicentra spectabilis, left, is in full flower before the meadow grass can encompass it.

The bright pink and white heart-shaped lockets are formed along an arching 3ft stem and create real presence in any garden.

Its woody rootstock is apt to rot in flood zones and though the growth is late, once it decides to get moving it rockets skywards with its pink and white blooms, which upturned look just like a 'lady in the bath'.

Other plants for our typical meadow soils include most astilbes. Magenta, far left, and sugar pink, left, varieties are often used in garden borders where I find their colours and dense heads too blatant but dotted through rough grass they look perfect.

The red passion flower Lady Margaret is a great addition for your summer tubs.

Grow it up a 6ft wigwam, steel obelisk, or around a besom/birch sticks frame. Leave out until September, then put under glass at a minimum of 7C (45F).

In winter tie the growths into the canes and wheel into a porch/shed, watering once in the new year. Gradually acclimatise to the outdoors before kick starting into full growth in April.


The bane of June - weeds.

The weeds are going mad so it's time to send in the heavy mob.

As weedkillers go, paraquat is a bit vicious and glyphosate is much safer.

Overall, weeding is a fine balance between spraying perennials (such as marestail, rosebay willowherb, docks), hoeing annual weeds and flame-throwing the gravel.

The tricky bit is those deep-rooted ones in the paving which you feel only paraquat can tackle.

But a better alternative is to spray with glyphosate at the perfect time, typically the day before the target weed's first flower-bud opens.

Spray the solution on a perfectly still, cloudy day when no rain is forecast for at least six hours.

Apply it as a fine mist, barely wetting the foliage, and expect to spray three times in the first year. If it drips off the leaves, you've applied too much.

Bindweed is on the march - I eradicate it from established borders by training it up a 10ft tripod of bamboo canes.

Wear latex gloves and a thin woollen glove - or a sock - and wet the growth with glyphosate, ideally when the bindweed is just coming into bloom.


Wild flower meadows - no longer the preserve of daffodils
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 10, 2007
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