Follow these easy steps to create your very own wildflower meadow!
- Choose a site that receives full sun during the summer.
- Wildflowers prefer nutrient-poor soil, so the next thing to do is check your soil. Ironically, ex-arable land is usually depleted of nutrients.
- Perennial weeds, such as nettle, dock and thistle, are a sign that the soil has high levels of nutrients. These three plants, along with bramble, will need to be kept in check, or will out-compete smaller wildflowers.
To start your wildflower meadow, rotavate or plough the site, (you can hand dig a smaller plot). There may be lots of dormant weed seeds in the soil, these will need to be weeded out as they sprout, over the next 3-4 weeks.
If you are planning a large wildflower meadow, take note of the native flora around you.
The wildflowers growing naturally in the countryside nearby, will be the best choice, for preserving the character, and benefitting the biodiversity of the local area.
- Sow your chosen wildflowers and water well. Allow the flowers to grow all summer then set seed, they should naturally disperse, and improve your flower stock. If the land has a lot of grass, a great wildflower to sow is: Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus minor, known as the meadow-maker. It is a hemi-parasite, and takes nutrient from grass roots, weakening the plant and leaving more room for wildflowers to grow.
- Let it grow from spring until late summer, which can be from mid July until early September, depending on the weather, this allows the flowers to set seed.
Hay Meadow Flowers
To manage an area like a hay-meadow, simply cut (ideally with a scythe!) once a year, when the flowers have set seed. This is usually at the end of summer, depending on the weather, anywhere from mid-July to September. Make sure it is dry, and allow the cuttings to lie in place, for about a week, this gives the seeds time to drop out onto the ground. After a week, collect up all the cuttings and remove them from the site, this stops the release of nutrients, like nitrogen, back into the soil.
Autumn is a great time to introduce more seed to your area, and over time the diversity of wildflowers should naturally increase. If you are lucky you may find beautiful treasures like orchids popping up in the spaces created.
In smaller wildflower areas, the stems and seedheads can be left in place over winter to provide structure and shelter for insects.
Turn a small area in your garden into a mini-meadow. Simply dig over and weed your chosen space and scatter a Seedball grab bag. Or, if you have an area of grass, that you’d like to turn into a mini-meadow, scarify by scraping with a rake and dig out 10cm wide pockets, then pop a Seedball on these patches of bare earth and water well until they sprout. Autumn is a great time to do this, when hopefully the rain will do the watering for you! You can also add more established plug plants. Adding a few spring bulbs will add winter interest, and provide an early nectar supply for pollinators!
No garden? No problem!
The Seedball mini meadow kits contain EVERYTHING you need, to grow a mini-meadow on an outdoor windowsill. Just add water! There are three lovely mixes of wildflowers to choose from.