Don't you love things that are quick and easy? And when it comes to wildlife gardening, beds of pollinator-friendly annuals must rank up there for creating the best return for your effort - what Richard Brown, whose garden featured in the latest Nature's Home, affectionately calls 'floral bolognese'.

I never used to be that taken with them - herbaceous perennials were what rocked my boat. But then Nigel Dunnett at Sheffield University started experimenting with various seed mixes, creating amazing colour combinations and long flowering times.

These mixes really came to prominence at the Olympic Park (below), which I was fortunate enough to see and photograph first-hand and was just as exciting as seeing Tim Daley win his bronze medal (both were VERY exciting!). Now every major seed company does their version.

Doing it in a pot is fine, but if you have the space it is always worth sowing on a larger scale as more wildlife is likely to find it. Last year, I had a large bare area I needed to fill quickly, so with a quick rotavate (2 hours), seed sow (30 minutes) and occasional water (2 hours), I then had weeks and weeks of pleasure for the most.

As long as you have a good, weed-free starting point with a fine tilth, it's hard (although not impossible!) to go wrong. Mid March through April is the perfect time to sow, so I'd love you to get a packet and give it a go and let us know how you get on.

Check those packets carefully - they should be made up of annual flowers, NOT 'meadow wildflowers' (which are where perennial flowers grow in among grasses). And if you want something that is an authentic version of the cornfields of yore, Google on 'cornfield annual mix' and you'll get combinations of Common Poppy, Corn Marigold, Corn Chamomile, Corncockle, and the electric Cornflower. Then again, why not try something more exotic as I did below in a pot - your very own delicious bolognese to your own taste!

Anonymous