ISSUE 33  |  Kitchen Week

Ruth’s Garden: Playing Wildflower Roulette

August 17, 2012 11:00 AM

BY Sarah Lonsdale

No matter how much I wish it were otherwise, my sister Ruth got the gardening gene. To wit, her garden in Northumberland (think: just south of the Scottish border). Nothing big or fancy, just two small terraces chock full of blooming plants.

A year ago there were only a couple of pots of forlorn grasses on the terrace when Ruth announced she was going to make it more garden like. Twelve months later, the place is full of pots, brimming with flowers in every direction. When I asked her secret, she confided that packets of wildflower seeds from a local One Pound shop came full of floral surprises.

Photography by Sarah Lonsdale for Gardenista.

Above: A collection of pottery planters with the mottled purple of a trailing vine (C), and wildflowers, and petunias in Ruth’s garden.

Above: A shelf filled with nasturtiums; one of the happy surprises Ruth discovered in a seed packet. If you crave more certainty, a packet of Trailing Nasturtium Mix seeds is $3.45 from Johnny’s.

Above: A clump of ajuga (R) and a collection of rocks add texture to the garden landscape. For a similar effect, Ajuga Black Scallop is $9.95 per pot from Great Garden Plants.

Above: A weathered bench at the end of a flagstone terrace.

Above: A glazed trough with sedums (L) next to a pot with a mix of perennials including speckled lungwort and annuals including cosmos. A packet of Sensation Mix cosmos seeds is $3.45 from Johnny’s.

Above: Ruth’s garden—a traditional cottage garden—plays off luxuriantly blowsy beds against prim pots of herbs, including lavender (R).

Above: Scarlet poppies and a trail of red petunias (R) are bookends that support other bright colors. A packet of Corn Poppy seeds is $3.45 from Johnny’s.

Above: Variegated leaves add interest and play off the hot pink color of a petunia.

Above: Encouraged to spill over the rock wall, the mounded ajuga—normally a ground cover—echoes the sculptural shapes of the rocks in the foreground.