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Wild flower planting

Could anyone who has grown a wild flower patch/meadow let us know how successful they have been.  We would be interested in pictures if possible, and whether they grew their patch from seed, plug plants or established plants, whether it is an annual patch or perennial. 
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  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,915
    I changed the drab square of lawn in my front garden when I moved in to the house to a wildflower meadow, I removed the turf and stacked it in my back garden (for making raised beds with later) then dug over the soil so that I buried the remaining top soil under sub soil.

    I then sowed a general wildflower mix (both annuals and perennials with some grass seed) in the autumn. The following September I cut what had grown and composted the top growth, I then top dressed with a mixture of sharp sand and sieved heat treated topsoil (to kill any weed seeds)

    I repeat this every year, in the autumn when the plants start regrowing from the cut I go in and thin anything that was getting too big during the summer (last year was greater knapweed, the year before was ox-eye daisies) I also add in different species as plug plants at this point as well (this past winter I introduced lady's bedstraw and tufted vetch)

    you can also plant bulbs under a wildflower meadow, snowdrops,crocuses and early daffodils all work well

    I would include pictures however the wind yesterday pretty much flattened it, so its not exactly looking its best
  • Thank you for such a detailed reply treehugger, it sounds a lot of work, but when you weigh it up against mowing a lawn every week or two for 6 months or so each year, I imagine it almost evens out. On a very rough patch of old grass we were told to low mow two or three times in early spring, scarify the remaining grass, then sow the seed and water in.  We did this, now have a few wild flowers but still far too much of the old rough grass has come through along with ground elder and other unwanted weeds.  It was suggested that we mow in Sept/Oct, and as necessary until Feb/March when the cycle starts again.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,273
    It is hard to plant wildflowers straight into grass as it will out-compete most things.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,015

    Traditionally, a meadow is an expanse of grass and other plants grown to be cut once a year and turned into hay for feeding livestock in winter when the grass is less abundant and nutritious.  The grasses suitable for this are not the same ones that are suitable for a domestic lawn.  So you have to get rid of the old grass first.

    We didn't appreciate this when we tried to create a wildflower meadow in the park.  We just mowed it short and scattered seeds.  Some lovely flowers grew, but were heavily outnumbered by dandelions and thistles.

  • Yes, that is what we are up against, however nothing ventured..... and we will try harder next year.  We haven't lost the enthusiasm for trying again.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,273
    Clearing areas of turf seems to work better than planting directly into grass. You could try planting yellow rattle plugs or sow rattle seed in November.
  • Yes, that seems to be the most often recommended route to take.  Has anyone on here used yellow rattle seed or plug plants.  Was the result good?
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 3,362
    Took me 4 years,first removed area of grass, nearly killed me, sowed seeds, nothing happened, bought plug plants very expensive, scoffed by slugs, then 2 pieces of wildflower turf, watered it regularly.  Last year, we hired a turf cutter, removed turf from round our apple, and pear trees, just leaving a grass path.  Bought  "lo-grow" , its a mixture of perennials and annuals, was something in flower all winter. "Tillers Turf", they have a shade mix, various wildflower mixes.  The first turf we used from someone else, had a mix 80% wildflower, 20% grass, the grass always wants to dominate.  Tried the yellow rattle got O germination.  Am very pleased with it now, especially the side I did from plugs as well, bigtime slug patrole on that twice a day.  This year I bought field poppy plugs, they have NEVER self seeded, I do have a few out in flower, I will take some pics, but have no clue how to put them on here, have to wait till I see my dear daughter, am seeing her tomorrow, but it will be a picture of a picture if you see what I mean.  Am surprised putting sieved topsoil worked, because you are always told not to use topsoil, wildflowers grow on rubbish,stones, no soil, rocks, cliffs,crags.I dont cut it back in August,September, I leave it till the following Spring. If you look up tillers it will tell you exactly what flowers are in the mixes.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 3,362
    Hello, Guernsey D, cut your grass every week or two, I wish, usually cut ours twice a week, we have had a couple of really sill little showers, and the grass needs cutting every couple of days, STILL have to water as well!
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,273
    I think the soil wild flowers like really depends on the type of plants. It seems all sorts of flowers that we are told like "poor soil" thrive on rich soil, in fact.
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