We are considering changing a scrubby waste area into a wild flower meadow - the land is approx. 20 foot wide by 80 foot long. I would be interested to read of any of your experiences and helpful advice. Thanks.
WERE YOU THINKING OF A PERENNIAL MEADOW WHICH ONLY NEEDS A CUT OR ONE WHICH GETS PLOUGHED UP EACH AUTUMN AND RESEEDS ITSELF WITH ANNUALS?
Last edited: 24 July 2017 15:40:29
Could we have some pictures, I have some pics on the garden design forum. I tried 3 years ago, to get a wildflower meadow started, bought seeds, they didnt germinate, bought perenial plugs (expensive) and scoffed over night by slugs. 2 years ago, I treated myself to a wildflower turf, 80% flower 20% grass mix from Wiggly Wigglers, but it was £30, plus postage, I had had to wait till they were cutting bigger orders, nearly killed me digging off the grass for it, lat year I treated myself to a piece of border wildflower turf, slightly different mix, same price, it looks great this year. We have a little "orchard" I call it, apples, pears, plums, both sides of a path to my veg plot, desided to do the bigger half complete wildflower meadow, hired a turf cutting in May this year, had to wait till july because of the weather, bought 100% wildflower this time, because I know the grass will seed its self in. This time from Tillers Turf, cost aorund £16 a sq.metre, delivered price, got 10 sq.mt, because of the funny shapes around the trees, and cost I opted to put plug palnts round the other apple tree, plus I have bought sowed wildflower seed, colllected some in fields, sprinkled on,was lucky it rained the next couple of days, so it now looks much better than in the pics, when it was newly laid. You may well get away with a spring seed sowing if the area is already scrubby.
At this stage we haven't decided which would be best Pansy, although I like the sound of annuals. It really depends on the amount of work involved, which after reading Nanny B's trials and tribulations seems like a huge amount of effort. It is a question of trial and error and how much effort my OH is prepared to spend on this "mad" idea of mine. I don't think it is mad, in fact I think we are well suited for it, we have masses of insects, pollinators and the like here and we are surrounded by fields and gardens. I will provide some photos in the next day or two.
I believe that the soil has to be poor and not enriched for wild fl. to thrive, which is just how our soil is. In fact we will probably have it tested before embarking on any sowing. It will be a winter project and one that I am looking forward to embarking on.
Yes, you need rubbish soil/. to be honest I am amazed my Hubby went for it. I have a mix of annuals and perennial, because you cant guarantee a self sow. I had been trying for the 3 years to get the flanders poppies, finnally got TWO this year, mind you I have a tesco express nearby, "they" (whoever) have removed a phone box there is a poppy there, am waiting patiently for it to go to seed, its on a bit of tatty wasteground dont think anyone will miss it!
It is really difficult to manage a wildflower meadow. You need to decide whether you want a spring one or a summer one. That will determine the mowing regime. I tried for a couple of years; it looked great in the first year but was a tremendous amount of work and we couldn't really cope. I didn't properly think it out and had lots of summer flowering annuals. The mowing is the problem. You need a strong person who can use an allen scythe, was the conclusion I came to which is why we gave up on it. We didn't have a mower up to the job, even the small tractor mower couldn't cope with the first cut in about August.
I now have a small area which has spring wildflowers and bulbs in grass and we mow it from June onwards. This is working better but it's early days yet.
OUR "MEADOW" CAME ABOUT BECAUSE THE PREVIOUS OWNERS HAD A "LAWN" ON A 45° SLOPE WHICH WE FOUND IMPOSSIBLE TO CUT WITHOUT RISKING LIFE AND LIMB.
SO I CUT SOME ONE METRE SQUARE HOLES OUT OF IT, EDGED THEM WITH TIMBER AND PLANTED FRUIT TREES IN THEM. TWO PEARS, A PLUM AND TWO APPLES.
THE SQUARES I TRY TO KEEP VAGUELY CLEAR OF WEEDS, LIKE PLANTAIN AND DANDELION, AND ONLY ALLOW ANNUAL WILDFLOWERS TO GROW IN THEM, LIKE CORNCOCKLE AND POPPIES.
THE GRASS, I LEAVE TO DO WHAT IT WANTS ALL SUMMER, DEADHEADING STUFF THAT I DON'T WANT MORE OF, LIKE VETCH AND COW PARSLEY. I HAVE FOUND OVER THE FIVE OR SO YEARS, THAT THE YELLOW RATTLE HAS HELPED ENORMOUSLY TO BRING THE LONG, RANK GRASSES DOWN TO A MORE MANAGEABLE HEIGHT AND STRENGTH. WHAT USED TO BE WAIST HIGH IN AUGUST IS NOW KNEE HIGH, JUST THANKS TO THIS ONE LITTLE PARASITIC PLANT.
WHEN EVERYTHING, BAR THE BLUE GERANIUMS, THE CORNCOCKLE AND THE KNAPWEED HAS SEEDED AND BEGUN TO DIE BACK I GIVE THE GRASS A VERY QUICK CLIP WITH HEDGE SHEARS - OVER THE COURSE OF SEVERAL DAYS, I DON'T KILL MYSELF.
WHEN THAT HAS DRIED OUT A BIT, I THEN GO BACK OVER IT ALL (EXCEPT THE THINGS THAT ARE STILL FLOWERING) WITH THE STRIMMER. AGAIN, BIT BY BIT.
AFTER THAT HAS DRIED OUT A BIT, I TAKE THE ELECTRIC,LAWNMOWER ON ITS HIGHEST SETTING, REMOVE THE COLLECTION BOX AND JAM THE REAR OPEN WITH A BIG STICK, WEAR MY OLDEST CLOTHES AND TAKE THE WHOLE LOT DOWN TO ABOUT THREE INCHES.
I THEN REPAIR TO THE HOUSE FOR A VERY LONG SHOWER TO REMOVE THE ENCRUSTATION OF FINELY CHOPPED GRASS FROM MY CREVICES.
A FEW DAYS LATER I RAKE THE WHOLE LOT UP AND PUT IT ON THE COMPOST HEAP.
THE ANNUALS IN THEIR SQUARES RESEED THEMSELVES. THE PERENNIALS HAVE A CHANCE TO SET SEED IN THE CUT GRASS.
I DON'T FIND IT ONEROUS. I FIND IT A LOT LESS WORK THAN A LAWN ON A SLOPE.
I have a small raised bed area on the side of a field, which is full of wild flowers now, which I reseed each spring, but I would be prepared to give this up if we can get the larger area to be successful instead.
Your flowers in grass sounds promising Redwing and I hope it proves to be easier to cope with. Do you have any pictures of it in flower?
pansyface and redwing, can we have some pics please, I have an area of about 20 sm, GG, I bought what they call logrow this time, with a maximum height of 75cm, the original stuff gets up to 1.5, but that was really because I had waited several months for the stuff to be ready, and was wanting to get on with it, it is gradually getting taller, and I expect some of thetaller stuff will seed itself over there. Course I dont know if they would deliver to you, I was going to go to Guildford which is the nearest place to me that sells the Tillers, but it was still about 160 mile round trip, meant hiring a flatbed, so in the end desided it was cheaper and a lot less agro to pay a couple of quid a sm to have it delivered to the door.You (obviously) can get a list of the plats therein on their site.
A BIT TRICKY TO TAKE A PHOTO OF THE WHOLE THING, BUT HERE IS PART OF IT TODAY.
MOSTLY CUT APART FROM THINGS WHICH ARE STILL FLOWERING.
Thats brilliant pansyface, just the look I am after, the logrow I bought says it will give flowering each month, its not just a summer thing, the last cou[ple of bits I cut with shears then mowed.I shant be mowing the new it this year.