Thursday, June 6, 2019

Wildflower Garden

You may remember that last spring, I cleared a patch of land at the corner of our garden and planted some wildflower seeds. There were cornflowers and poppies and scabious and some others, as I recall.

Well, none of them ever sprouted -- at least not that I could tell. Our little wildflower garden remained fallow, dusty and unforgiving. Eventually we planted a few cow parsley plants and a milk parsley, as well as some comfrey. They took hold, and toward late summer some other little plants appeared in the surrounding soil -- I couldn't tell if they belatedly came from the seeds I'd sown or were simply weeds. (I suppose weeds are wildflowers, so maybe it doesn't matter.)

This year, as you can see, the wildflower patch is insane. Most of it is borage, which was growing there already. It has seeded and spread all on its own. We also have a feathery wild carrot plant, at least three musk mallows, a few English plantains, and some other random stuff. Our milk parsley is holding its own, but the cow parsleys vanished (apparently they're annuals). We have bright pink valerian and, at the back, a large-leafed inula that keeps getting gnawed by slugs. I planted some burdock seedlings in this bed but they were promptly eaten and subsequently engulfed by the surrounding foliage.

It's not quite what I envisioned when I thought of a wildflower bed -- I imagined something much more meadow-like, with multicolored blossoms on tall, slender stems. Instead, we've got a jungle. But it serves the purpose -- it's a constant hive of insect activity. The bees, especially, love it.

They're on the blue borage all the time...

...and they crawl headfirst into the purple bell-like flowers of the comfrey.

(I can't help wondering where all these bees live. I've never seen a hive in this area, but obviously there must be one!)

There's far more bee activity in this corner of the garden than anywhere else, which proves that when it comes to insects, they like wild, native plants the most. As much as I love our roses, I've never seen much on them in terms of wildlife. Just aphids and ladybugs!


  1. The nickname of Brentford F.C. is The Bees so I imagine that your bees live in Brentford - probably in designer apartments that contain thousands of miniature bunk beds.

  2. How heartening it is to see those bees working so industriously!

  3. It seems wildflower packages are much the same all over. My daughter didn't have any success either.

  4. Love seeing those bees enjoying the native flowers. Did you see the news about a swarm of ladybugs so big that they showed up on radar looking like a large rain cloud? It's very interesting. Here's a link:

  5. Wow, beautiful photos of the flowers and the bees. We were supposed to see lots and lots of azaleas while in Italy but, they had already bloomed and were gone. My friends were disappointed. They kept telling me how beautiful it should be. Actually, I thought the gardens were fantastic even without the azaleas.

  6. I may lose my little wildflower meadow since it's actually part of the field if the new owners decide to go ahead and develop it. it's about done for the year though still has some firewheels blooming.

  7. I'm so glad you're getting lots of bees. We used to see far more here; now I'm down to about three sightings per summer, which is horrifying. I need to plant a wildflower garden - if it'll grow for me. Can't know until ya try, I guess :)

    Those are great photos.

  8. when we had an allotment we tried several times to grow wild flowers without success but I love that Valerian, so colourful.

  9. Beautiful and good for you for giving the bees a safe place to thrive.

  10. Stunning - Fabulous Shots - Well Done


  11. YP: Well, I'll file that under "Things I Didn't Know about Brentford."

    Ms Moon: We DO have lots of bee activity in our garden. Insect activity in general, in fact -- though not by Florida standards!

    Red: Maybe they have lower rates of germination just by virtue of being wild? (You'd think wild seeds would germinate MORE easily, though.)

    Robin: That ladybug story is CRAZY! But I'm glad some insects are prospering out there.

    Sharon: Yeah, our azaleas are done here, too, so I'm not surprised they're already finished in Italy.

    Ellen: The situation with your wildflower meadow has me really sad. I remember your post about it. I really hope they don't plow it all under.

    Jenny-O: Three sightings of individual bees all summer?! THAT doesn't sound good.

    Briony: One year I planted a packet of seeds and nearly all of them came up. But I haven't been able to duplicate that success in the years since.

    E: They need all the help they can get!

    Padre: Thanks! :)