Sunflowers

This year, in order to provide more interest and more colour we experimented by planting sunflowers. They astonished us - they were planted before the drought but seemed to be indifferent to it. However, it had an unexpected benefit. Because of the dry conditions only some of the seeds germinated. Then, with occasional rain, more germinated. This resulted in constant flowering for a period of some 6-weeks.

Many of the flower heads are now busy drying out. They have run their course and are completely full with seed and only need to be harvested.

Cosmos

The other plant that we rely on so much for colour because it is resilient, does not require good soil conditions and comes in a rainbow of colours is Cosmos. We put Cosmos into our flower mixes because it is the most reliable of all in terms of its ability to cope with any conditions. Sometimes the Cosmos will outgrow the wildflowers so we have learnt to not give it too much leeway. However, as a standalone display it is always colourful. The long strips on either side of the A350 bear testament to that. Next year we will plant a lot more but the colour mixes will be completely different

The broad swathes of blue is phacelia, a flower which is actually a popular forage crop, much loved by bees and insects.

We are constantly experimenting with different plants and combinations of flowers. Next year we will plant a lot more but the colour mixes will be completely different.

Saying goodbye to our flowers

As the temperature drops and the days become shorter, it becomes more difficult for our flowers to survive.

They have done well and have persevered through lower temperatures than we would have expected them to have tolerated. We have learnt a lot by trying different varieties of flowers and different mixtures but it has all been very educational and inspiring.

Every type of flower that we have planted, even those deemed unsuitable, did well. Armed with this experience we will be planting more flowers next year and different mixtures but instead of being in straight, controlled lines, they will be presented in a much more natural way.