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Wildflower garden/meadow


I have been asked by the church I attend to help create a bug hotel and wildflower garden/meadow at the side of their church grounds. The bug hotel I have all in hand but after researching have realised that the wildflower part may be more tricky and I am looking for advice. 

There is a large bit of lawn in which the vicar wants to convert into wildflower garden. I initially thought it would be a simple act of sprinkling down seeds onto the lawn and then hey presto.. But I think I am wrong. 

My time will be quite limited so need something that won't take up huge amounts of time to create and maintain. Would it be wise to scarify all of the lawn and then sow seeds (sounds time consuming) or would you think it may be best to just dig up some turf and create a smaller bedding area for the seeds to be sown straight in soil? I've heard competing with the grass can be problematic and I would rather not have to wait years to see some results. The space I have to work with is around 15ft x 40ft 

Any advice or ideas welcome. 



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158
    I'd start by not mowing, you may find that wildflowers are already there

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    What is the budget?
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    Depending on the budget and volunteers, you could do a mixture of:
    buying some meadow mats
    sowing annual seeds in thin sinuous strips (need to remove grass first) throughout the grass area
    getting some of the church members to sow and grow on perennial wild flowers for next year
    leaving the grass long and seeing what comes up. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • AsarumAsarum Posts: 622
    Buy some Rhinanthus or Hay rattle seeds.  It’s an annual which parasitises on grass roots, thus weakening any robust grasses already growing there.  It maybe too late for this year though. 
    East Anglia
  • Torg22Torg22 Posts: 302
    Some great ideas there, thanks. Will give it some extra thought.

    In terms of budget, I have upto £200 to spend but would rather not spend that much really. 
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Meadowmat would probably be easiest but it's a pretty big area for that.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    meadowmat is very expensive, but I found the only way to guarantee what you want.  I firstly tried seeds, then plug of perennial wildflowers, (scoffed by slugs) very fiddly and expensive, then I bought my first piece of meadow turf, nearly killed me digging up and removing the old grass, (clay soil, like a brick in spring/summer) Last year we hired a turf cutter, removed all bar a grass path, and now have an area round my fruit trees,I saw a picture in a book of a wildflower area which had rosa rogosa planted in amongst the flowers so I did that as they are cheap to buy (discount super markets!) any free seeds I get gardening mags friends, sprinkle as well. Not ONE of the yellow rattle germinated! I do find grass WILL try and take over will be removing some as soon as it is dry enough, yes, get some volunteers definitely!
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    I've tried a lot too, though not into turf. I seems it can be pretty tricky and the eco advertisers make it seem much easier to create a meadow than it is (IMO). I've seen meadowmats used to great effect, making an new area look like they've been wild flowered forever. There seems to be a central contradiction that wild flower meadows are a mix of wild flowers and grasses, but grasses will out-compete other plants in a sunny meadow, as will 'weeds' (plants you don't want). Docks, dandelions etc can take over too.
  • Typical isn't it. When you want them to grow they won't, when you don't they do. I'm just realising that all that feeding of the birds (particularly the goldfinches) over the winter has resulted in an unintended meadow where our grass should be.
    “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    Yep. We all learn by experience Paul!
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
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