Posted 13th Mar 2017
Gardening expert Kate Gould gives us an introduction to wild meadow planting
There has been a trend for some time now towards much more naturalistic planting. Softer, lighter and more ephemeral with a preference for perennials and bulbs over shrubs. A garden realistically needs both though to create balance. The shrubs add bulk and scale and act as a foil to lighter planting so don't do away with them at all, perhaps just use lighter forms; Euonymus, Rosa mutabilis, Cercis and Cornus sanguinea are work well in conjunction with grasses and perennials.
Meadow planting with wild flowers is not easy and certainly not low maintenance although it is often labelled as so. A meadow takes dedication and often is unsuccessful due to the ground it is sowed over (meadow planting loves a thin, poor soil and hates competition) so over the years if this light effect is what a client desires but they do not have the right conditions or space then I have found that ornamental grasses work equally as well, require little care and last beautifully through the winter months.
Calamagrostis, Panicum, Stipa, Molinia and Pennisetum create beautifully soft waving drifts when planted en masse that morph from the greenest greens in the spring and summer through to bleached blond as the year progresses. Team them with Allium in bold drifts or inter-plant with Aquilegia, Astrantia, Sedum and late flowering Aster varieties to add colour.
Naturalistic gardening just got easier!