Sarah Raven: Review of the Meadow Mixes - June Update

At Pig Row we have been trialing two mixes from Sarah Raven, the Celebrate Britain Mix which we have sown in pots and the Pastel Annual Mix which we have sown in open ground. We sowed the latter in late April 2012 and as you can see from the photo taken today, they are growing well. Against all odds and the weather they have germinated and grown into strong plants which are self supporting. They jostle against each other showing a promise that may be with us by late summer. There have been a few hiccups with heavy rain after we first sowed the bed. This washed some of the seed to the bottom of the bed. However, the great thing about this mix is the speed of germination and you can quickly see where the gaps are. These gaps have been resown with a poppy seed from our old garden, Drovers. The seed packets from Sarah Raven's Kitchen & Garden are generous, this packet covers two and half meters by two and a half meters. Therefore we'd recommend sowing a smaller patch if you are unsure of the weather in spring and keeping back some of the mix to plug any gaps. You could try sowing some of the mix at the same time in modules and then plant these plugs in the gaps for instant gratification in early June. 

The seed packets we received at Pig Row came with complete sowing instructions on the packet and a handy A5 sowing guide. The sowing guide is practical and takes you step by step through the sowing process. The guide shows new gardeners the simplicity and beauty behind growing your own plants. By following the sowing guide, as we did, you find that you are rewarded with a strong plants that are weed free. This is certainly the case with the small meadow we have sown on Pig Row.

The Celebrate Britain Mix were a pleasant surprise, we decided to grow this mix in pots to reflect how many gardeners are pushed for space. What surprised us was that the pot sown mix germinated faster that the Pastel Annual Mix. In a matter of days we had seedlings and in less than a month are on the way to surpassing the growth in open ground. This may be down to the mix itself but at Pig Row, we are sticklers for doing accurate trials, and sowed a small test patch of half a meter by half a meter of the Celebrate Britain Mix in open ground, this failed to germinate. This has been more to do with the awful weather in the UK this spring and summer, the last month has been one of the wettest on record and we fear that most of the seed was washed away. We won't be surprised to find this growing further down the hill later in the year. These are the vagaries of growing your own plants and even if you buy in plants, they could in the spate of weather and flooding we have had, fail. At Pig Row, we garden on top of the world and if these seeds grow for us here with a 90% germination rate, they should be in your garden because they are stunningly beautiful, fast growing, great for pollinators, easy to sow and grow in pots and open ground. These mixes would be good as a focal point in a bed in a front garden, in pots by the front door or kitchen door or simply by a main path. There is something, even at this point, tactile about the mixes. You want to brush your hand along them and watch the mixes reveal their beauty that will dance throughout the summer. By sowing these mixes you will be supporting our pollinators but you will be the envy of your neighbours when they ask how much such a display cost. They will be livid when you tell them how easy they were to sow. They will be apopleptic when you happen to drop into the conversation that you haven't had to weed.  

Later in the summer Pig Row will be showing you how these mixes are getting on, flowering and surviving against the weather a 1000ft above sea level.

We were given all products mentioned free of charge for review.


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