Multimedia Blog

Guide Around Prairie Garden in Bloom

When choosing plants for a sunny and exposed site, why not try mixing Californian Poppies (Escholzia) with Heleniums and low-growing grasses such as Fescues ( Festuca)?

The poppies are so easy to seed and I get my clients’ children involved by roughly broadcasting the poppy seed over freshly turned earth. This simply means tearing the top off the seed packet and throwing the seed onto the ground. I’ve done this in the past and not even bothered covering the seed with a fine seed compost-it works! All we’re trying to do is to copy nature and mimic the conditions found in the natural environment.

Heleniums love the sun (as you can tell in the name) and they flower for a very long time. These sun-loving herbaceous plants will go on flowering long into the Autumn and I leave my faded plants alone until the Spring so we enjoy icy cobwebs covering the plant “skeletons” on cold Winter mornings.

Grasses such as Fescues enjoy a dry site and work really well in plant containers as long as you make sure they are kept free of ant nests. My Mum used to put a thin sheet of newspaper in the base of the pot to cover the drainage hole. This was sufficient to discourage ants from finding easy access into the container, and the paper was thin enough to allow free passage of excess water to drain away. Simple! The ants tend not to bother too much with plants in the ground. They will always prefer pots and then lawns to build there nests so try to keep the pots and tubs relatively well watered and the lawn mown regularly. Having containers kept in a reasonably moist condition keeps their plants happier and less prone to stress on hot days, and also discourages vine weevils from making a home in their soil.

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