Friday, 2 May 2014

The Wildflower Garden

Dr Trevor Dines
Plantlife Botanical Specialist

Did you know that many of our garden favourites, like box (Buxus sempervirens) and Welsh poppy (Meconopsis cambrica) are also some of our rarest native plants?

It always amazes me that you can pop into almost any garden centre, DIY shop or nursery in the country and buy a plant of shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), but this same species is a beautiful native wildflower restricted to just two small areas of Britain.

It was partly because of this that we decided to launch Plantlife’s Wildflower Garden. It aims to celebrate the rare and common native flowers we probably already grow, introduce you to a few new ones and also uncover the fascinating stories behind them (according to legend, for example, Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) grows from the blood of buried Viking warriors!) We want to celebrate our wild flowers and help you make the most of growing them in your own garden.

We’ll also help you select wild flowers suitable for your own garden and give advice on how best to grow them. You don’t need to let your garden become overgrown and tatty to enjoy wild flowers, they can be woven into the tapestry of all garden styles, from informal cottage to clipped and formal.

The subject is one close to my heart. As well as being Botanical Specialist at Plantlife, I’m also a passionate gardener. I inherited the gardening bug from my grandparents; one of my clearest childhood memories is of my grandmother discovering wild fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) in water meadows on the farm where I grew up. Back in her own garden she showed me the same flowers she’d planted in the lawn and the connection between garden and the wild has fascinated me ever since.

Watch out for regular updates as we go through the gardening year. We’ll be adding more plant profiles to the list and features with ideas and suggestions on how to make the most of wild flowers in your garden throughout the year.

So what are you waiting for? Why not sit back with a cup of tea and explore our native garden flora…

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