A good wildflower mix in your garden is easier to look after than a manicured garden and much cheaper too. Help protect our native plants and wildlife by creating your very own wildflower garden. Here are our top suggestions to get you started.
Perennial or annual meadow
Firstly you need to decide if you want a perennial meadow, one that will come back each year, or an annual one that will require richer soil and for you to put in a bit more back work. Perennial mixes flower faster and will have a wilder appearance. Annual wildflowers, also known as ‘cornfield annuals’ include the gorgeous blues of the cornflower, field poppies, corn marigolds and the corncockle. Be wary of flowers that have a tendency to over grow and push out other flowers such as thistles and poppies, especially in the second year as the ‘self-seeders’ take over.
St John’s Wort
This plant with its bright yellow flower was an important medicinal herb for centuries in Ireland and was used to ward off evil and sickness. It was once hung up outside homes on St John’s Eve to protect those inside. These days it’s widely used in medicine to treat depression. In your garden it will be a burst of bright colour and a plant that will thrive in most conditions with little to no care.
The pretty purple flower of the honeysuckle is synonymous with summertime. In Irish folklore it was admired for its strength with the saying ‘as tough as the honeysuckle’. This was because the wood of the plant becomes very hard as it matures. More romantic associations of the plant were that if placed in a girl’s bedroom, she would dream of love. Both these associations, along with their beautiful bloom are reason enough to plant this Irish wildflower.
Bluebells are related to the Hyacinth family and a familiar sight in Irish woodlands come spring. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic sight, than a violet carpet of bluebells scattered across an Irish woodland. In Irish legend the bluebell is usually associated with beauty and ‘hyacinth eyes’, but to the ancients it was a flower of grief. Be careful not to plant them too close to your garden wall or gate as Irish passer-bys have a tendency to pick them.
These deciduous flowers are such a beautiful and unique purple-red colour that their name christened the colour fuchsia forever. While not a native plant, it’s a well regarded long-stay visitor due to its decorative appearances along the roads of the south-west of Ireland and other coastal areas. These delicate tubular flowers work well as hanging plants also due to the droop of the flower.