I love those wildlife gardening activities that take almost no effort at all - and here's one that after an initial oomph is followed by an absolute riot - of colour!

It all comes from scattering some annual flower seed, which will turn into a bed of colour for you and for pollinating insects.

The result can be this...

or this...

...or this (only without me in it!).

It is incredibly cheap, too. Whereas one potted plant might easily cost you £7.99 these days, for about a tenner you can cover a whole bed in colour.

The critical thing is preparing the soil, and now is the ideal time. It needs to be free of weeds, and raked so the surface is like fine crumbs. I like to dig a bed over now, leave if for weed seeds to germinate, and then hoe those weeds off just before sowing.

Then it is just a matter of scattering the seeds (the recommended rate is about 5 grams to 1 metre square, but you don't need to be precise), then firm them onto the surface, give them a water, and nature will do the rest. 

March and April are ideal times to sow - when your weeds are growing, you know it's time to sow your flower seed.

It may then need a quick extra watering can if conditions are very dry in summer, but that's pretty much all you'll need to do.

So what flowers should you sow?

Well, there are all sorts of 'mixed annual seed' packets you can find these days. The traditional mix is the cornfield mix, like this one below in my garden, with Common Poppy, Corn Chamomile and Corncockle (and I like to include blue Cornflower,too).

Here's one I made in a pot, with Corn Marigold in yellow...

If you like the look of the flower mixes in this blog, the top one is mainly Coreopsis tinctoria (yellow with dark centres) and Shirley Poppies, the second one is Phacelia campanularia (blue), Tidy Tips (yellow) and Californian Poppy (orange), and the third one is mainly Cornflower and Echium 'Blue Bedder', a total winner for bees.

For lots more simple tips for how to go about it, see our Giving Nature a Home page here. And remember to log-in from that page and let us know if you've given it a try - I'm so pleased that 635 of you have already!

Anonymous