Weekend columnist Simon Tetlow is head gardener at Tatton Park in Knutsford

THOMAS Earl Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida, in October 1950.

At the age of 10 he met Elvis Presley and later described that when he saw him he ‘glowed’.

Hereby began a love of rock and roll that stayed with him until his untimely and sad death by accidental overdose in October 2017.

The difference between ‘a love of’ and creating for Tom was the moment he saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show some years later.

And like a hundred thousand other kids, wanted to start a band.

He later said the Beatles were doing all the same notes on the same instruments and some of the same tunes as other bands.

But it was how they put them all together that made something remarkable. It’s often thought that most principles of horticulture are long established and there exists very little new.

But every once in a while gardeners enjoy a ‘Beatles on Ed Sullivan moment’ when well known plants and long established theories on planting times and sowing depths are combined into something new, simple and wonderful.

Crewe Guardian:

Pictorial Meadows was born 20 years ago out of an intensive research programme by Sheffield University’s Nigel Dunnett.

It was a radically different approach to meadow sowing, combining many unusual planting combinations not often associated with meadows to provide easy, low input, long lasting displays on a massive scale if required.

Meadows of long grass flushed with vibrant tides of colour through the season are unattainable to the vast majority of gardens, both great and small.

But here – created by research and bending the rules a bit – is a combination of seeds that have the ability to transform anything from urban dereliction to stately homes with months of reliable, interesting, entertaining plants.

We are not talking native wildflowers but hardy annual species combined to breathtaking effect.

Word is long out and rightly so – 2012 Olympics parks showed the world that Dunnett and Pictorial Meadows meant business.

We saw sweeping blues around the London Aquatics Centre and international meadows around the main stadium.

Is this marvel of horticulture available to us mere mortals?

Yes absolutely. We may not have sweeping acres but we all have that tricky unnourished spot, we may be sick of struggling with half hardy annuals or may even want to get rid of that tired old lawn.

So why not let a bit of ecological, low input, high impact planting into our lives?

The good news is planting can be done now, between May and early June, to transform the bit you hate looking at until the end of October.

As Tom Petty wrote: ‘You belong among the wildflowers, you belong somewhere all bright and new’.

Same plants, different ways of using them. Love it.

Happy gardening

SIMON TETLOW