The seasonal meadow
The colourful flowers that you'll see in the seasonal meadow and in the farther garden are not just there as a decorative landscape. In the farther garden there is the first of what we hope will be several beehives, which contains thousands of bees.
These bees feed on a variety of the flowers and take nectar back to the hive to produce honey, and if you look carefully at some of the pictures below you'll see some of the bees at work in the centre of the flowers.
The cornflower used to grow as a weed in corn fields, hence its name, but intensive farming and overuse of chemicals in the agricultural process made it very rare. The reintroduction of it as a decorative plant in domestic gardens has brought it back from the brink of extinction, and the vibrant blue colour shows up well in the multiple colours of flowers in our meadow.
The bright yellow colours of the tickseed flowers provide an attractive carpet of plants in our seasonal meadow. They vary in height between 18in and 4ft and are one of the coreopsis species. The name Coreopsis is derived from the Greek words koris, meaning "bedbug," and opsis, meaning "view," referring to the shape of the fruit. They are the food plant of caterpillars belonging to the lepidoptera family, so these flowers are also helping the population of butterflies to increase.
The Shirley Poppy was created in 1880 by the Reverend William Wilks, vicar of the parish of Shirley in England. He found one in a corner of his garden which adjoined arable fields. It's a variant of the field poppy that had a narrow white border around the petals. Variations of this have been developed from the European corn poppies, the famous Flanders Fields flowers.
Originally regarded as a weed that grew in corn fields, in the past farmers in Scotland were obliged to root them out to prevent their proliferation. Each flower can contain hundreds of seeds which remain viable for several years in storage. Although they may have been regarded as a weed, we think you'll agree that they create a wonderful display happily growing in the meadow.
This flower is one of the most rare corn field weeds, originally thought to have been in this country since the iron age, numbers declined rapidly in the last hundred years. It's an excellent flower for pollinating insects and our bees will make good use of it for their work in the hive.
The colour of this plant has been likened to the whiteness of Baldr's brow. Baldr was the second son of the god Odin who was considered to be so fair of feature and so bright that light shone from him. However it's a common weed of cereals, sugar beet and other arable crops. It's also a frequent garden weed so you may well have seen it in your own garden. We've sown it in our garden because it's a good source of nectar and pollen.
The red flax plant that you'll see in our garden is a variety of the usual blue flax plant. It's not just grown as an ornamental plant in the garden, flax is used for the production of linen. Mills for spinning flaxen yarn have been around since the late 18th-century. It's also been grown commercially for edible vegetable oil and as a dietary supplement. Flax fibres have also been used, would you believe, in the production of banknotes, rolled papers for cigarettes and teabags.