Pictorial Meadows’ Pastel seed mix, originally designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett from the Landscape Department at the University of Sheffield, is a testament to the artistry and science behind naturalistic planting. This annual mix, born out of research into colour waves found in nature, has become a favourite for its unique, sophisticated appearance and extended flowering season, providing maximum output for minimal input.
Pastel at Hillside © Jared Barnes
The journey of colours
One of the standout features of the Pictorial Meadows Pastel seed mix is its thoughtfully curated colour progression. Designed for a continuous succession of flowering, its blooms gradually increase in height as the season unfolds.
The mix starts with low to medium-height blossoms, such as red Poppies and white Gypsophilia (Baby’s-breath). This early display brings to mind the classic imagery of summer with strawberries and cream, setting a sophisticated and elegant tone. The understorey of Viscaria oculata (Catchfly), introduces cool hues which enhance the visual appeal. These cottage garden plants create a captivating display that unfolds with each passing week.
Pastel at Chatsworth Garden
As the season progresses, the mix evolves into a taller showcase, featuring Ammi majus (Bishop’s flower). The intricate white lace-like umbels of Bishop’s flower hide the spent heads of earlier blooms, ensuring a seamless transition and a constantly evolving visual feast for the senses.
The grand finale arrives in late summer as the Cosmos takes centre stage with its bright green feathery foliage bursting into an explosion of pinks, reds and whites. This riot of colour dominates the landscape, providing a dramatic and enchanting spectacle up to the first frost and sometimes even into December.
A dramatic seasonal change
The mix begins to flower from as early as six weeks from sowing in the spring, presenting a charming display that evolves continuously throughout the growing season. The result is a completely different show at the end of the season compared to the beginning, creating an ever-changing landscape of beauty.
Pastel at Overbury Enterprises © Harry Green
Reliable and tried-and-tested with added value
This mix has stood the test of time, proving its reliability and popularity. With seven different species each contributing its unique charm, the Pictorial Meadows Pastel seed mix has become a great alternative for those seeking the classic cottage garden look with a modern twist. With the additional value of longer nectar periods available for pollinators and oil-rich seeds for winter birds, its versatility and adaptability make it suitable for various landscape sizes and styles.
Pastel at Sheffield Manor Lodge
‘Like walking through a scene from a Disney movie’
Dan Pearson, one of the world’s premier landscape designers and horticulturists, describes the Pictorial Meadows Pastel seed mix as ‘like walking through a scene from a Disney movie.’ This poetic statement captures the enchantment and magic of this mix. Pearson’s case study showcases the mix’s ability to create a fairy tale-like atmosphere where each bloom tells a story, and every colour contributes to the overall visual symphony.
Pastel at Hillside © Huw Morgan
Pictorial Meadows’ Pastel seed mix stands out as a masterpiece of naturalistic planting. Its carefully selected blend of colours, continuous successional flowering and dramatic seasonal change makes it a must-have for anyone seeking to transform a landscape or garden. With reliability, versatility and a touch of Disney-like magic, this seed mix has become a favourite, providing a source of food for wildlife and a visual feast for the senses from spring to the first winter frosts.