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Advice on wild flowers


Need some advice on my "meadow". Only this year have my kids stopped using the garden as a playground, now I'm trying to turn it in to something the wildlife will love.  So early on in the year I dug up a section of lawn, turned it over and sowed some seeds I bought off Amazon. It didn't go exactly to plan as the first lot of seeds I bought only covered about 1/4 of the area, I then bought some more from a different supplier not knowing they would be different and planted them a few weeks later. Any way this is how it looks now:

I don't think the photos do it justice, but I'm really happy with it (at least the first section) as we are now getting loads of all sorts of different bees, insects and butterflies, it's an absolute pleasure to see and hear.

Now I don't actually know much about gardening, I think this was more luck than judgment, so my question is: what do I do now? When it gets towards the autumn should I cut the lot down, and assume they will all grow again next year? Or do I just leave them and they'll grow back anyway?




  • OwlbearOwlbear Posts: 49
    edited August 2020
    What to do depends on what the plants in question are.

    From a brief glance of the ones that are flowering it looks like a mix of native/near-native (Chamomile, Cornflower, Corn Marigold) and non-native annuals (Phacelia).

    They will die off this year, but if you let them go to seed the advice is generally to 'disturb'/dig over the soil to the encourage them to germinate as it mimics the fields they normally would grow in. If you have a search for something like 'management of cornfield annuals' you should find lots of information around as its a fairly popular mixture.

    The second patch might be another mix of annuals as it looks like there might be some Corn Marigolds and Cornflowers in there too.

    One thing to consider as you expand or replace your patch is that quite often people sell 'Wildflower seed' or 'Meadow seed' but mean totally different things. Sometimes they mean an mixture of annuals (usually Cornfield annuals like you have) which require regular disturbance of the soil to persist, sometimes a mixture of genuine "meadow" perennials which take significantly longer to establish.

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 35,790
    Hello iain and welcome to the forum. I have serious wildflower meadow envy! It looks fantastic. Generally speaking, you leave the flowers to go to seed at the end of the season, these seeds are then (hopefully) released to the ground and then you can just clear all the old top growth of the plants away. Shaking the seed heads when ripe will also encourage seed drop.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,941
    I think you've mistakenly done really well for the pollinators in your garden, because you've sown a range of flower types that will bloom across the season.  Soon enough your first batch will finish blooming and your second batch will just be starting.  Typically I just dump a bunch of packets together and scatter it all around.. you've just done yours in sections. 😁
    Utah, USA.
  • When we planted our small orchard we decided to keep a section for wildflowers. The grasses have taken over in some areas however early autumn all is cut back and the next year we have more wildflowers. The insects as you say love the area and the knapweeds are beloved by the gold finches when they seed.
    What will not grow out there is corncockle but we have managed to get some to germinate and flower in a small area in the garden.
    Yellow rattle....tried everything but to no avail.
    A lovely wildflower area you have.
  • Thanks all for your kind comments and help.  Based on what's been mentioned, and what i've googled (not always the best idea), I'm thinking it might be best to let the whole lot finish then maybe start of October cut it all down and dig it all over, I think that means using it as "green manure"?  I don't what to deal with the 2 sections separately, so if needs be, I'll dig the second section up and buy more of the first lot of seeds.

    It would seem a bit daft not to put all that lovely green stuff back in to the soil to nourish it one way or another.

    Since i took the above photos and posted this question a few days ago there have been another 4-5 different flowers come through in the first section, and it's looking even better.  There are now some poppies and what look like pink poppies, and the most stunning orange flower which i have no idea what they are.  It's looking even more colourful.  Just wish I'd bought more of the first lot for the rest of it.

    Your thoughts on my plan for what to do later would be really helpful.


  • sarinkasarinka Posts: 270
    Looks beautiful. I'd love to see more pics of it!
  • sarinka said:
    Looks beautiful. I'd love to see more pics of it!
    Of course, some of the earlier ones have died off a little now though.

  • OwlbearOwlbear Posts: 49
    Looks like you have really a lovely mix there. 

    I think the orange flower is probably California poppy and if by "what look like pink poppies" you mean the quite rich pink in at the bottom of the last photo that's a Corn Cockle.

    You have some Borage as well (the rather funny shaped drooping blue petalled flowers).

    Must be really nice at the moment as far as insects go.
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 35,790
    That is just glorious. Lots of councils are now planting up verges and roundabouts with wild flowers. A wonderful thing to do.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Absolutely wonderful. The insects must just love you.
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