How does my wildflower garden grow?

Gillian Day

Fundraising and Supporter Assistant Fiona planted a wildflower meadow from scratch back in March, right at the beginning of lockdown. How's it going?

The answer to this question is that, to both my delight and astonishment, the small patch of ground we sowed with seeds back in March just before lockdown has grown really well!  After having the driest and sunniest spring on record for many years, I had my doubts whether our first attempt to grow flowers to attract more wildlife to a patch of our garden would succeed.  Well, how wrong was I – I should have kept the faith!

We did try to keep the area fairly well watered and, as I have been on furlough, I have been able to keep an eye on day to day developments. The first flowers to appear were yellow and I think I have identified these correctly as wild cabbage. They have been a huge attraction to masses of hoverflies. 

Hoverflies on flowers

Wildflower meadow planted by Fiona Mansfield

As the days and weeks in June progressed, it was exciting to see what flowers emerged next. Over the last week of June, the area became a mass of colour and during the recent mini heatwave when temperatures soared, it has been alive with insect life. Hoverflies, bees, bumble bees, butterflies and 7-spot ladybirds have all been attracted to the flowers. I definitely spotted some small marmalade hoverflies with very distinct orange stripes and meadow brown butterflies. There is also a large ant mound which has formed at the base of one of the Foxgloves.

There are cornflowers, oxeye daisies, candytuft , greater stitchwort, and many, many poppies in varying shades of red, pink, yellow and white. Again, hoverflies seem to migrate towards these flowers in abundance. I particularly love the poppies as they are so delicate, but sadly their beauty does not last for long. Today I noticed that there are also some borage flowers appearing which I know the bees will love. I have also spotted some droppings on one of the stepping-stones left by a hedgehog which regularly visits the garden and passes through that way.

Although not on the same scale as the large meadow we saw at the Eden Project last year, our small patch does seem to have worked and has made quite an impact, so much so that we are thinking of extending it further into the front garden so that it is more visible. I have enjoyed photographing the flowers and wildlife as they appear. There are a few that I have been unable to identify, so I look forward to calling on the expert knowledge of some of my colleagues to enlighten me. Overall, I am delighted with the result of our first attempt at wildflower gardening and long may they continue to bloom for the remainder of the summer and set seed in readiness for another bigger and better display next year.