Sarah Raven: Review of the Pastel Annual Mix - August Update

Here on Pig Row the summer has been hardest that we can remember. Starting any new garden takes time, a new garden is reputed to take seven years to construct and mature. A garden like Pig Row that is grown from seed and division means that instant impact is sometimes a season away. We could go to our local garden centre and achieve instant impact leaving a deep hole in our pockets but as a gardener, I know from experience that these plants to do not fare well at our altitude. We are a thousand feet above sea level and many plants given to us as gifts have died. However, seed sown, plants grown, have all survived bar the odd mistake by me and Little D. No plant likes to be trodden on and I have big feet, Little D just has robust feet that are matched by his own narrative of 'stomp, stomp, stomp'. That is why the Pastel Annual Mix from Sarah Raven's Kitchen and Garden has been such a delight. One season, maximum impact and a changing colour palette that has run through cornflower blue to the first pinks of cosmos.

This bed that has overcome eight foot snow drifts at Easter, day after day of rain and high winds and has stood up against it and a toddler who now regards them as, 'pretty flowers, sniff' (robustly). Sown back in April it is now coming into its own, as cosmos are set to takeover in the mix in the coming weeks. The mix was unstaked and did not collapse in the winds or end up flat to the ground when we had hail. This is a meadow that stood up to everything that gardening a thousand feet above sea level threw at it. 

The pictorial meadow bed has been slotted into a large bed. You can see it here to the right of the photo by the fence. It was at the start of the trial by the path but we have changed our plans and have gone for a sinuous curve rather than a regimental straight line. Funnily enough, this planting in blocks has created a patchwork effect in this bed which can be viewed from the house and when the first of the mix flowered by the King Edward potatoes it was breathtaking. It has also been a constant breakfast buffet, Las Vegas style, for the pollinators in our garden. Bees have thronged around the flowers and there has been a marked rise in butterflies. This is no surprise when you see the beautiful mix close up.  

The bed that was easy to prepare, easy to maintain and though there has been some weeds they have simply been smothered by the growing meadow. It is not just a mix that can be used as filler in the borders, it is a mix that can be used to make a real statement in your garden. It is also a mix for anyone who is clearing their garden, who has yet to decide where the final paths, beds and perennials will be. As you clear, you sow, and then instead of barren soil, a whole cavalcade of flowers take over and you can say to your friends, 'Oh that, I just did that in an afternoon'. Envious? They will want to know your secrets and why you have so many bees in your garden. Bees are important as a world without them is a world that none of us want to face and this mix helps our pollinators.

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