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Wild flower planting

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  • The cliffs here are covered in wild flowers, the soil is poor, very dry and thin.  However we have poppies growing in our veg patch and that is cultivated using household compost and mushroom compost and they re-seed each year. So you are right in some ways Fire.

    Gosh Nanny Beach that has been some momentous effort to encourage your wild flowers to grow - you deserve to have a lovely display this year.  It is interesting to know that your Yellow Rattle didn't give a good yield.  I sowed some Ox Eye daisies a couple of weeks ago which have germinated already.  I will pot them on in a week or two - do they over winter outside successfully?
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    Many wild flower seed companies will now provide mixes for specific soil - dry shade, poor sandy, this one is for rich loam.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,293
    Ox-eye daisies do overwinter, they also seed themselves enthusiatically, so you should have plenty for next year. I have found that they don't mind the soil being better, but don't like being crowded . Best to give them some space anyway, as they tend to sprawl a bit, and trying to support them generally looks worse than leaving them be.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,299
    Never had any germination from the rattle at all, now the oxeyes on the other hand seed everywhere, coming up in the pathes, shingle, they do sprawl, yes.This the first year I have had ANY field poppies, yet you see them everywhere, hence why if I get the pics posted on here, you will see I have the metal ones! haha.One, has managed to seed itself into a bed, - which has perennials, in mauves,pinks, there it is!
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 1,139
    edited June 2018
    After trying various methods I think stripping the area of grass is the most effective way to a quickly established garden meadow (rather than a more traditional natural meadow which has the advantage of scale, natural balance and build up of seed, taking possibly 100's of years to establish), otherwise the grasses will swamp the flowers before too long. 
    I'd wait until early spring, or autumn, strip off the top layer of turf, wait a couple of weeks for any perennial weeds to come through, then spray them off. Ideally you would do that twice. Then sow a good richly varied perennial mix. They usually have a good mix of annuals in so it looks nice in the first year. A good mix of species is important as you will likely find that some flourish and some fail in your soil and conditions.
    Its hard work initially but then the management is very easy but very important. I find one late summer cut, as close to the ground as possible works best for me, ideally leaving some bare soil. This gives new seed a good chance to germinate. The most important thing is to remove all the clippings to stop the nutrients leaching back into the soil.

    Ours is in its 4th or 5th year now and improves every year, with new species cropping up. Not sure if these are from the original seed mix or have just found their way in naturally.

    Some pictures of how it grows through the year...

    Early spring. not much happening, underplanting with bulbs would help at this time of year.


    Some close ups of the sward at this stage so you can see how many species are coming though though. Couple of flowers making an early burst for glory

    Spring - red campion dominates initially,  

    followed by white campion joining in by late may/early june

    Mid june brings the oxeye daisies and grasses (which have come on their own) starting to flower. This is how it looks at the moment 


    The mallow, jarrow, and others are just starting to come through now, so it goes back to a pinky purple. Havent got any photos of that though, will get some this year. 

    Then end of august to mid september I cut it, depending how its looking. If its a hot summer it goes over a bit more quickly. Looks pretty horrendous for a week or so then, but it will put on new growth pretty quickly and look much like it does in early spring again. I strim it, leave the hay to dry out for a few days to let any seed drop, then hoover it up with the mower, then give it another cut to get rid of as much greenery as possible. (This is taken before the second cut)



    Well you did ask for photos!

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,299
    As promised, the photos taken today.


    Path in, on the left sown from plugs, (added a couple of Rogosa, after seeing them in a design book, among wildflowers, last bit on left, wildflower border turf.


    Wildflower border turf on right, atually got a couple of field poppies, only took 4 years haha


    "Lo gro" planted last year, apple decided to die no time to remove it this year, so using it for hanging my baskets







    poppies real and not so real!





  • Thank you so much for the input and photos which are a huge help, it's one thing to describe it but to actually see the outcome is so much better all round.  I am excited by what we already have, although it has been a bit hit and miss.  There must be 20 or more different flowers/plants (not all in flower yet) and every day there is something new to look at.  We do have bind weed though, and although just establishing I can see that it may be a problem in years to come if we don't try to eliminate it now.  Our visiting hedgehogs have made a little path through the area, which is encouraging.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,299
    Wow, Jellfire, that more a proper meadow, though I dont think you had better meantion "spray", (aasuming you mean weedkiller on here!)
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 1,139
     I dont think you had better meantion "spray", (aasuming you mean weedkiller on here!)
    Yep I know, I never use any chemicals in the garden usually, but in this case I think it’s a case of ‘the greater good’. I tried without weed killer first time round on a patch and the nettles and thistles had taken over by the year end. I figured the long term benefits would outweigh the one-off use of weed killer
  • Today we mowed our wild flower bank - leaving the cuttings to dry and hopefully drop their seed.  There was still quite a few plants in flower - red clover, Californian Poppies (are they really "wild"?), some plantains and mallows. Over the coming months we are going to dig over another patch ready for me to plant established home grown plugs in the Spring.  So far I have germinated foxgloves, teasels, knapweed, oxeye daisies and corncockle, and hope to add to this list in the Spring with Nigella, Jacob's Ladder, Poppies and Mallow. Underneath the black tarpaulin is pile of topsoil which we will remove and the lush green growth in the forefront of the second picture is germinated seedlings of wild flowers and yellow rattle and probably a few clumps of unwanted grass. Sorry, got my pictures out of order - this is how the newly seeded area looks todayThis last picture shows the newly seeded area that we made in September and above picture shows how the seeds have germinated in the warmth and with some watering from the hose..
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