Outside our home, at the top of the road, there is a wide verge with a scruffy hedge boundary and an area of poor soil which was scraped clean back in January when the adjoining school carried out some long overdue maintenance. The hedge and trees provide a valuable site for nesting birds in Spring and as cover to protect them from predators, particularly Sparrowhawks which are common in these parts.
Rather than just accept the inevitable colonisation by pernicious weeds, brambles and ivy, I obtained permission to plant some bulbs, perennials and to sow some flower seeds. Frankly, given the dreadful sub-soil that was left, I doubted that anything but weeds would grow but, as my wife is fond of saying, “they’ve got two chances!”.
So, in April I mixed up a bucketful of sand with leftover seeds of Cosmos, Calendula, Cornflowers, and Sweet Rocket with some Borage and Phacelia, a native wild flower mix including Corncockle, Corn Marigolds and Poppies, and raked them lightly into the surface as best as I could among the roots and stones. Amazingly, there was a good rate of germination and the Phacelia in particular grew away strongly.
When we re-graded and levelled the garden three years ago we inadvertently spread Grape Hyacinth bulbs everywhere and they became a real nuisance, This year I systematically dug them up and relocated them to the verge frankly not caring whether they lived or not. Lo! and behold, up from the sub-soiled depths they have come! My neighbours got into the spirit and plonked in a few leftover tulip and narcissus bulbs and some bluebells. Since then, surplus Hollyhocks, Shasta daisies, Horseradish, hardy Chrysanths, Foxgloves and Nasturtiums have all been added and, hopefully, self-seeded for next year. Nothing grew particularly tall except the Corncockle which is obviously used to growing in poor, thin soils. Next best were the Phacelia and Calendula which relished the conditions and the Cosmos, from the arid deserts of Mexico, is still going strong in November!
I look forward to seeing what happens next year.