My ‘Let Nature In' journey so far…..

Corn marigold (c) Dawn Miskelly

I blogged back in March about transforming my lifeless garden into a welcoming space for nature. Here's how its going! #LetNatureIn

As a self-confessed novice gardener, I’ve decided to do my bit for wildlife and #LetNatureIn to my garden this year.  My biggest change has been to dig up my lawn and seed with wildflowers, but more on that later. Read about how it all started here March 2021 Blog

The simple first step I’ve taken has been changing the types of plants that I normally plant in the spring and summer in pots, containers, beds and window boxes round my garden.

Rather than going for the standard fayre from local garden centres like petunias, lobelia and busy lizzies, I’ve gone for lavender, French and English versions, verbena and nicotiana.  I’ve also planted honeysuckle against a trellis and some heather and herbs like rosemary and thyme - all available in local garden centres.  After taking a while to get started due to a particularly cold May, they are now all starting to establish well and hopefully will provide lots of nectar for pollinators right through to Autumn.

My big project though has been aiming to establish a ‘wildflower meadow’ where my lawn used to be.  Our insects are in serious decline globally, with insects dying out up to 8 times faster than larger animals. Currently 41% of insect species face extinction across the planet.

Our gardens can be a vital habitat for our pollinator species providing corridors for them to move and connect to the wider environment. My aim is to provide a delicious and nutritious feast for pollinators to help sustain and support them – playing my small, but important part in nature’s recovery.

Let Nature in Blog - Wildflower seeds

Back at the beginning of April, I removed all the top layer of grass from the lawn and rotavated the soil underneath.  Admittedly, I didn’t do this part myself but got a local landscape gardener to do it but it was very reasonable in terms of cost.   I bought my wildflower seeds from Ecoseeds.  I went for a mix of high colour annuals and bee friendly species including Corn Poppy, Corn Marigold, Corn Chamomile, Cornflower, and Corncockle, Ox-eye Daisy, Red Campion and Yellow Rattle and sowed them in the middle of April.

Then I waited! 

As I said earlier, May was a very cold month so not much happened and I was starting to wonder if I’d done something wrong. My garden definitely did look like a ploughed field for a while, but my patience was eventually rewarded when I started to see lots of very tiny seedlings emerge towards the end of May, early June.  I watered the lawn maybe once a week during dry periods but that was all that was required.

From mid June to now (mid July) there has been lots of progress and in early July, I got my first few flowers.  I can’t tell you how exciting this was – although maybe I’m just easily amused!

My wildflower lawn - progress from March to July 2021

I have to say though I have gotten so much pleasure from watching the initial slow progress up to now and the weekly and now daily changes have kept me fascinated. Noticing the nature that has started using my garden is now part of my daily routine!

I definitely have a few bare patches where my seed sowing hasn’t been as even as it could have been but I’m going to collect seeds from the flowers at the end of the summer and sow in the gaps in Autumn. It’ll probably take another year until it’s really well established but I’ve loved the experience and the anticipation of the outcome.

I’ve already noticed lots of ladybird larvae - something I’ve never noticed before in the garden and am wondering if this is meadow-related. I actually had to stop when I was giving the wall a fresh coat of paint a few weeks ago because it was covered in larvae at various stages of transformation.  The painting is now on hold until the adult ladybirds emerge.

Let Nature In Blog - Ladybird larva

The meadow is just starting to bloom, so I’m expecting a sea of colour in the coming weeks.  I’m looking forward to the flash of colour as a butterfly flutters across the meadow and the buzzing of bees as they delve into a flower head. Here are the first flowers coming through:

You don’t have to do something as radical as taking up your lawn entirely - although I would recommend it!  Any small changes you can make in your garden will make a big difference for wildlife.  If you haven’t already then please sign up to our #LetNatureIn campaign.

When you sign up, you’ll get a FREE downloadable gardening starter guide and a monthly  e-zine filled with information and tips on how you can let nature in to your garden.  

With monthly themes like lawns, planting, and hedgehogs, and gardening themed events and talks, we’ll be there to keep you motivated throughout the year to make the best space for yourself and for local wildlife.  Click below to sign up now