Robert Allen, Production Manager for Meadowmat and Enviromat has a true passion for wildflower and wildlife gardening. His aim is to help anyone to get the most from our native species. Whether they have a wildflower roof, a small garden or a large plot.
Why Change The Seedmix For Cottage Garden Meadowmat?
One of the things that Robert likes doing the most is experimenting with plant combinations. Seeing which species thrive side-by-side. What colour groupings work well. And how to extend the flowering period for as long as possible.
Robert listens to customer feedback and tries to create seedmixes that thrive well and look good.
Cottage Garden Meadowmat is a fairly recent addition to the Meadowmat family. The concept is to use native species and closely related cultivars to recreate a romantic Victorian cottage garden. Full of colour, easy to care for, blowsy and relaxed. The seedmix includes old fashioned favourites such as aquilegia (aka columbine or granny’s bonnets), bellflowers, achillea and cornflower.
The results from last year’s crop were stunning. A lovely long flowering period (even longer when it’s underplanted with spring flowering bulbs), beautiful colour combinations and healthy plants.
Early spring and Cottage Garden Meadowmat which has been underplanted with spring fowering bulbs starts providing pollen and nectar for bumblebees. This is the “old” mix for Cottage Garden – the “new” mix has considerably less grass, although at this time of year, many of the flowering herbaceous plants are dormant.
Customers told us that they loved everything about Cottage Garden Meadowmat but the one improvement they could suggest was that the mix contained less grass and more flowering plants.
So, for summer 2017, the seedmix has had an update.
How The Species Mix For Cottage Garden Meadowmat Is Decided
Every plant species in Meadowmat has a function. The flowering plants are all pollinator-friendly, there are plants that provide food for the lavae of butterflies and moths. There are plants that help create a thicker sward and support for the taller species. And there are plants that have a robust root structure to hold Meadowmat in a roll while it’s being transported.
Grasses in Meadowmat are there to act as props for taller, weaker plants. They are habitat for butterflies like the Meadow Brown and they also have some rather attractive flower heads. But the most important function of grasses in Meadowmat is to bind the mats together and make them easy to harvest, transport and lay.
Reducing The Proportion Of Grass In The Seedmix
The trouble with grasses, is that given the right conditions – fertile soil, plenty of moisture, sunlight, and minimal maintenance – they can be a bit brutish. Without careful management, they’ll compete with the flowering plants and sometimes take over.
2017 seed mix for Cottage Garden Meadowmat. As you can see, grasses are much less prominent and there are bright, jewel-like splashes of colour provided by Linaria Northern Lights. Corn Chamomile is looking fantastic with plenty of flower buds yet to open. This picture was taken in early July
So, in response to customer’s comments about the proportion of grass to flowers in their Cottage Garden Meadowmat, Robert has reduced the amount of grass in the seedmix to just 5% by weight.
Remember though, that 5% of the seed mix by weight doesn’t mean 5% of the plants will be grass and 95% will be flowers. Every species of plant has different sized seeds.
Cornflowers for example generally have around 100 seeds per gram. Achillea (yarrow) has 88 seeds per gram, Columbine (aquilegia) has around 500 seeds per gram and tufted hair grass has around 4000 seeds to the gram.
Don’t forget too that every species germinates and develops at different speeds and every species adapts to new environments in different ways. So when you (or your client) install Meadowmat in a garden, although it is grown from a standard seed mix, it will very quickly become unique to your garden.
Adding More Flowering Plants
The new, improved Cottage Garden Meadowmat also has some new species introductions.
Robert has added in two varieties of cosmos. I’m so pleased about that because I adore cosmos – it brings so many butterflies to my garden.
Also new in the seedmix are Linaria Northern Lights, Corn Chamomile and vervain*. Corn Chamomile and vervain are native species and Linaria Northern Lights is a close relative of toadflax.
*Vervain is said to burn and kill vampires – I’ve never had to resort to that but it’s good to know that the plant is on hand should I need some.
2017 Seed Mix For Cottage Garden Meadowmat
|Browntop Bent||Tufted Hairgrass||Achillea (Yarrow)||Common Knapweed||Thrift (Sea pink)|
|Yellow horned poppy||Linaria Northern Lights||Ragged robin||Ribwort Plantain||Meadow saxifrage|
|Vervain||Field Scabious||Common Mallow||Tufted vetch||Sweet violet|
|Birdsfoot trefoil||Vipers bugloss||Achillea ‘Cerise Queen’||Knautia macedonia ‘Melton Pastels’||Leucanthemum ‘White breeze’|
|Rose campion||Wild thyme||Red campion||White campion||Common daisy|
|Aquilegia||Nettle-leaved bellflower||Cornflower||Cosmos Gloria|
|Bladder campion||Cosmos Albatross||Corn chamomile|