One of the best wildflower nurseries in the Cumbria reqion.....
"...there is an endless variety of flowers in the fields and meadows, which if the agriculture of the country were more carefully attended to, would disappear." William Wordsworth wrote this intuitive prophecy in his description of the Lake District at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Two hundred years later one of the conclusions of the most recent Survey of the flora of Cumbria was that while the loss of thirty species was depressing "it is of far less consequence than the progressive loss of habitat... of a large proportion of the native flora." This in an area considered to be amongst the least affected by 'progress'.
The knock-on effect has been that by poisoning and eliminating significant parts of the natural food chain species such as the skylark, dormouse and hare have become 'endangered species'.
Fortunately, we may have realised the danger before it is too late. From Bio-diversity schemes for farmers to articles in magazines and television programmes we are being encouraged to contribute to a process which will hopefully halt and then reverse the trend.
We do have to be careful though. Back to William's sister Dorothy who told of a meeting she had had with a Miss Hudson of Workington who said "O! I love flowers! I sow flowers in parks several miles from home, and my mother and I visit them, and watch how they grow." In our enthusiasm we must not create further problems, even with the best of intentions, as were Miss Hudson's. There is a balance , an order, while some plants grow throughout the United Kingdom, others are local. There is also a contemporary problem. David Bellamy has warned that "Imports of cheap foreign (plant) stock are out of control and could pose as significant a threat as genetically modified crops." British native plants are threatened by cross-breeding or, as is most dramatically illustrated by the Japenese knotweed, habitat invasion.
So how do you find out which flowers, trees and shrubs to plant? The answer simply requires a click on a button, the one on the navigation bar marked 'Post Code'. You will be transported to the Natural History Museum's Post Code Search facility. Just enter the first part of your post code, e.g.CA14, and not only will you be able to print out (without any charge) lists of flowers etc., but also the birds, butterflies and mammals that have been found in your area. So what starts out as one interest could develop into others.
"But," you might ask, " will wild flowers grow in my garden?" John Chambers in the introduction to his book 'Wild Flower Gardening' has the answer. "Taking wild flowers out of their natural environment and putting them into gardens reveals an interesting fact... by removing the intense natural competition you will find they often make much better plants. This in turn leads to more flowers with larger petals flowering over a longer season." And many of our native flowers are quite stunning!
One important fact you will have to appreciate. Mother Nature cannot be rushed, but your patience will surely be most generously rewarded.
Finally , a few points about the format of this site. It might seem that it is vaguely familiar, that it reminds you of a television series fronted by the young lady who is Britain's favourite gardener. It is a coincidence, totally unintended as we were completely unaware that the series was to be screened, but Chris Baines' book "How to make a Wild Garden" has been our inspiration, in all senses of that word. It is the one we would recommend not simply for the contents - text and illustrations (which are superb), but for the down to earth presentation of the ideas and information through which his enthusiasm shines out like a beacon. It really is a good read.
If you get the impression that creating wild life habitats is really quite simple and, though at times it might involve some hard work, it can be a lot of fun, then we will have succeeded in one of our objectives. If you find the additional information adds to your enjoyment, maybe provokes thought, criticism, action, we would be delighted to hear from you, especially if you can put us right about any inaccuracies. Then if we can be of service to you, by supplying the plants we grow, or obtain, from native sources, many from our own spot, that will be the icing on our cake!
The photographs are © John Feltwell/ Garden Matters Photo Library, and © Annopix
The site has been constructed by my son-in-law, Mark Sangster, who has been the very model of patience and inventiveness.
21st September 2003. Added new grass / wildflower seed mixtures to Wildflower Meadow section.
25th September 2003. Added Themed Collections section.
2nd October 2003. Updated Order Forms
11th November 2003. New plants added, descriptions and pictures updated
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