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New Wildflower Bed

AnnieanenomeAnnieanenome West SussexPosts: 35

Hello fellow gardeners,

I have a patch of grass I wish to make into a wildflower patch to attract the bees and insects.  It is a new build garden and luckily no weeds. The patch I will be using is 12 sqm. The soil on the area is mostly clay which can hold the water. Should I rotavate it and add topsoil before setting the seed? It is east facing but does get the sun again later in the day from the west. Any advice would be very welcome. 


  • I'm no expert but I garden on clay and seeded a wildflower meadow 6 or 7 years ago.

    If it's a new build I'm guessing the ground is pretty compacted which adds to the problem. Clay needs to be broken up to loosen the texture and get air into it so roots (especially seedlings) can move through it and to help with drainage.  So lots of sharp sand and grit but no rich compost as wild flowers don't need it (and some of them will go mad and take over).

     If you aerate the grass thoroughly using a proper machine it will take out plugs of g rass, then put sand and grit on about an inch deep and brush it in well. 

    Yellow rattle fees on grass roots so if you can sow some before the 1st frost that will grow next spring (spring sowings don't work apparently).

    Then early next spring get lots of plug plants, grow them on a bit then plant them out, digging out an entire bit of turf and back filling with the poorest soil you can find. 

    Don't forget to get some different grasses as well as flowers and also a selection of flowers that covers the whole season.  You'll be able to get plugs of yellow rattle in spring too.

    Good luck - it's so rewarding when you see all the insects and well worth the effort

  • AnnieanenomeAnnieanenome West SussexPosts: 35

    Thank you HyppyByker,

    I will do just that. Can I put in wildflower seeds in at the same time as the Yellow Rattle now before it gets too cold. I am in the south coast so milder than a lot of other areas.  Thanks for the prompt response. I know I will need to get a wiggle on.?

  • You can sow them now but make sure there's plenty of loose soil with no grass roots where you sow - maybe clear a few patches a few inches wide in organic curves and you can widen them each year.

    If you mix annual wildflowers with perennial ones they'll provide support and keep the grass at bay in the first year to give the perennials time to mature

  • AnnieanenomeAnnieanenome West SussexPosts: 35

    Brilliant, thank you for the advice. If the bed takes off I will certainly widen it to use up the whole space. 

    Looking forward to the result and welcoming lots of beautiful insects. 

    Thanks again, love this forum, full of lots of knowledgeable gardeners.

  • Me too - it's not often I can help, I'm usually the one doing the asking image

    Post some pics next year!

  • AnnieanenomeAnnieanenome West SussexPosts: 35

    I  certainly will post some pics. Before and after. Hopefully the after will look colourful. 

    Happy gardening.


  • And you image

  • mnbuckmnbuck Posts: 1
    We have two small lawns and we'd like to make them into wildflower 'meadows'. How do I go about clearing the grass away? One suggestion is put down plastic/tarpaulin. One of these small lawns used to be a vegetable patch and there were the remains of salad leaves coming through last summer. I don't know if the winter weather killed them off or not... remains to be seen. We live in North Down in the east of Northern Ireland, beside Belfast Lough. There is a gardening business in the south of Ireland who sell wildflower seed bombs and they are specifically Irish wildflowers. We'll buy our seed bombs from them.
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