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Making a small meadow/butterfly garden

I have an area of garden that I want to turn into a small meadow/bee and butterfly friendly space and I’m looking for suggestions for suitable plants.

The area is 5.5M by 3.5M with a 2M wall on the east side, similar height hedges on the south and west sides and open to the north so doesn’t get much direct sun but is light, it’s also partly sheltered from rain but drains slowly.  Along one side is a log pile to encourage the stag beetles to continue breeding and nearby is a small stand of nettles for various butterflies.

It’s currently bare ground, covered with about 20cm of earth excavated from foundations for my workshop but it’s likely to be fairly ‘rich’ as previous owners had bonfires there.

 What would give a fast result?  Which seeds or plug plants? How much/many would I need to give good coverage?  We have cats so need to consider plant toxicity as well.

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  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,055
    Welcome Taff. Meadow Mats would give the fastest results, but not the cheapest. Very reliable, though.
  • tafflondontafflondon Posts: 4
    Fire said:
    Welcome Taff. Meadow Mats would give the fastest results, but not the cheapest. Very reliable, though.
    Thanks for the suggestion, Fire, but as you say it's not cheap, we'll have to go for seeds/plugs and wait.
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,057
    If it's currently grass, and you're not planning on removing this, you might like to consider some Yellow Rattle to help keep the grass from swamping other things.
  • tafflondontafflondon Posts: 4
    It's bare, lightly tilled, ground at the moment so doesn't need anything to fight grass but would yellow rattle, or something else, help 'condition' the soil for wild flowers?
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,428
    Can you sow direct?  Do you have a low slug population and a way of keeping the cat off seedlings?  I created a pollinator garden a few weeks ago.. I just put a bunch of different seed packets marked as 'pollinator friendly flowers' together and sowed direct. I also picked up a few six packs of flowers from the GC for instant effect and instant necture/pollen for the waiting insects.  

    You are limited by lack of sun, but bee balm does well in shade.  Autumn Bride Heuchera is supposed to do well in dry shade, and blooms late in the year when other flowers are long gone.  
    Utah, USA.
  • tafflondontafflondon Posts: 4
    Thanks Blue, that was my plan, as much as I had one.  I was looking for alternatives or validation from people who know more than I about these things.
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,057
    It's bare, lightly tilled, ground at the moment so doesn't need anything to fight grass but would yellow rattle, or something else, help 'condition' the soil for wild flowers?
    Yellow rattle won't - it needs grass to survive, it's parasitic!
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,481
    Most wild flowers thrive better in poor soil, no need to enrich, 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,055
    Wild flowers that I have found seed easily are ox eye daisies, cow parsley, toadflax, clover and corn marigold. You could try seeding these.

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