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Plants for Bugs

RHS research project monitoring insects in native and non-native garden border plants.

Weeding among the wildflowers

Posted by Helen Bostock Plantsforbugs on 10 Jul 2012 at 09:15 AM



Visitors to Wisley enjoying Plants for Bugs in the sunshine 


Last Thursday the sun finally shone through for us. In fact, it was so hot we had to keep dipping under the trees to cool down in the shade. But the reality is that this near non-stop rain has turned our newly sown wildflower area next to Plants for Bugs into a lush green carpet. Not all of what has emerged is what we sowed. Time to blitz the worst of the weeds to allow the remaining seedlings a chance to establish.


Below you can see our volunteer Jenna busy weeding. It may look like lawn but instead it's a whole mix of wildflowers. They only flowering things so far are some white campions, the odd field poppy and some self-sown forget-me-nots but next year should be much more dramatic. Priority for weeding were the taller thistles, docks and weedy grasses. This was our last chance to get onto the bed and weed - any later and we'd be crushing the new plants beyond recovery.



The other big job to tackle was cutting back the large tree heather (Erica arborea) that was dominating the middle of the bed and shading out the new sowing. Most heaths and heathers won't tolerate being cut into old wood but this is an exception. Andy Collins who oversees the heather area took the lead and showed us how it was done. With a bow saw and a couple of pruning saws, it really didn't stand a chance!


Tree heather before pruning...



And after... 




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