Floral lawns on trial - and an ancient forest is reborn

This week, horticulturists turn into handyculturists to help keep visitors on their feet, and the floral lawn trials are up and running

The garden team are a versatile bunch: not only are they excellent horticulturalists they are often to be found carrying out more mundane maintenance tasks – this week they have been wielding paint brushes and repainting the anti-slip paint on the childrens' play area – this is particularly important especially at this time of year when everywhere is very dewy early in the mornings and therefore much more slippery.

Floral friendly trials

I had mentioned in a previous previous blog that I would show you a picture of the pollinator-friendly floral lawns trial when we had it up and running. The day went very well and the different seed mixes have gone down into the different plots, so now we have to sit back and wait until they germinate. Then next year, we'll grow them on, and the year after that, monitor them to see which ones do the best.Trial plots

We will then be able to recommend good seed mixes to put down for people who would like to have a floral lawn instead of just plain grass, and thus increase the number of visiting insects and pollinators around.

The trial plots are laid out in a grid and the columns of the grid have got three different seed mixes plus two control plots and the rows will have three different mowing regimes to see how each seed mix behaves. We will be running this trial until 2017, so you’ll have plenty of time to come to RHS Garden Harlow Carr and view it if you’d like to.

From little acorns…

We have just planted out some special little oaks in the shelter belts at the back of the gardens, these have been grown from acorns which originated from oaks that were part of the ancient forest of Knaresborough. In our nursery we have grown them on and planted them out; to come full circle and be planted back into the ground where they first started is a tale worthy to tell.

Autumn glory…

Newly planted liquidambar trees

Earlier in the year we planted up some more trees of the edge of the arboretum. Well, they are really coming into their own now and displaying glorious autumn colour: Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’ and Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Lane Roberts’ are just two which are looking very spectacular. The overall view was wonderful in the autumn light.

Watch the woodland and the arboretum over the coming months as we will be planting some very exciting new tree species - more of which later…

More info

More gardening advice
Harlow Carr garden highlights
More about seed trials

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.