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Will a Wild flower bed grow through slate chippings?

Hello Everyone, I have taken all your knowledgeable advice and my garden is looking good!!

The Verbena Rigida is in between my roses now and yes, the plastic netting kept the cats of there until things grew! It looks really good. I moved the Mermaid rose to somewhere it can do what it wants and I am very glad I joined this forum. Thank you all!!

NOW! something else to test you! I moved into this house 3 years ago and concentrated on the garden as it was really all grass and concrete. I had about 6 months rest due to an inconvenient heart bypass and now I am cracking on again.

When we came, the driveway looked very smart, as it had been covered in Welsh Slate chippings! I soon found out that living in a valley surrounded by mountains you get a lot of chippings EVERYWHERE!! I have tamed the garden, although I now have a small Quarry that I made with my every day collection from my new made flower beds!

My problem is that the Driveway.

I have now discovered that MILLIONS of weeds are growing big and beautiful through the 1-2 inches of chippings as the previous owners did not put a membrane down before the slate was laid!

We covered half of the area with a very thick, dark and doubled up Tarpaulin. I had been banned from heavy work so poor Hubby did most of it. I was so stressed over how it looked that I couldn't bare to see it!  The whole area is about 100 square metres but we need to park the car on some of it.

Having made the garden look good, full of insects in it and wildlife in the pond, I now ache to tackle this rotten problem!

The obvious and most interesting thing for my challenge would be a wild flower area. THIS IS WHERE I NEED YOUR HELP!
The area looks now weed free. I covered it on May 18th. My idea was to leave it until about March next year, try to scrape off as many chippings as I can. There is only soil beneath. Then put down cardboard and a light layer of compost and then seed it. Will it work? 

I appreciate any advice you can give. You have never let me down yet . Thank you for reading, I hope you all have a good day.


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    If the weeds liked the slate chippings then so will the species included in your wildflower meadow mix, so you could save yourself a lot of work and just sow the seed directly on the slate.  Just an option to consider. :)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,401
    edited July 2020
    I agree with Bob. Although you might want to till the slate into the soil a little bit to ensure that seeds make contact with the earth. Don't be adding compost or topsoil or anything that will enrich the soil. Keep on top of weed removal until you are ready to sow, and during establishment.

    Stuff that's coming up from the roots must be painstakingly dug out, or glyphosated. I know many people don't like using glyphosate, but if you kill established weeds properly to the roots, you'll save yourself a lot of work and won't have to resort to spraying again. It's easier to remove new weed seedlings by hand. There will be a weed seed bank in there now so learn what the weed seedlings look like and keep on top of removing them! When the meadow knits together it will get a bit easier.
  • Good morning to Bob and Loxley, Thank you for your replies, I feel a lot more hopeful now. About the Glyphosate? the initial reason I didn't consider it, was because I have a dog and 4 cats  and worry about their health. Do you think it would work if I sprayed the ground and then covered it again until the weed killer worked? I have read about Glyphosate on the net but nowhere does it tell me if it works after covering. 
    Many thanks for your help. Have a good day in your gardens. 
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,401
    There'd no need to cover if you spray with glyphosate, you just need to keep pets off for about a day, it's not particularly toxic. But you should reserve it for weeds that have problematic root systems like bindweed, nettles etc. The alternative is digging out every last piece of root. No point using it on annual weeds that can be pulled up quite easily.

    Do not cover the site with carboard and attempt to establish a meadow on top, that just won't work.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited July 2020
    Because you have already killed the weeds by covering them with the tarpaulin, there is no point in using glyphosate as that is only absorbed by green leaves and is then transported to the roots, where it kills them.  It will do nothing at all if sprayed on soil.  Many wild flowers are naturally shedding seed right now, so I would do as Loxley suggests and lightly mix the slate with the soil below then sow your seed now.  If any perennial weeds appear from existing roots, those will grow much more quickly than your seed so can be easily identified and dug-out or you could use glyphosate gel applied directly to the leaves (or use a paintbrush) to ensure only the treated weeds are killed. :)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • EXCELLENT! Thank you so much. I will take off the covering and check it all out. I only looked at a small patch thinking I would need to wait until next year. ( no weeds there now but need to check it all)
    If I am successful. I will post my pictures of the bed for you to see.

    Thank you and Happy Gardening.
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