Creating a wildflower meadow


I'm new to this site but would love to ask more experienced gardeners for some advice. We would like to create a wildflower meadow in our field in an area approx 5 metres by 15 metres. The main issue we have is that our house is on the site of an old school and the area of field that we own is where the tennis courts were built. The tarmac for the courts has never been removed, and over the past 35 years a thin layer of soil (perhaps 5 cm) with accompanying moss and grass has settled on top of the tarmac. I am aware that meadow plants thrive on poor soil, but will this be too poor or shallow for any wildflowers to grow in? Should we add some soil to the area? Or should we dig up the tarmac? The tarmac itself is so old and soft it could be dug up easily, but there is lots of rubble underneath which is trickier to remove. Also, this area is underneath one large crack willow tree and a few smaller trees- would this also be a problem. Thanks in advance for any tips or advice!


  • meiowmeiow Posts: 51


    I've  only been gardening for a year but I have asked my OH what he would he would do.

    He suggests if the tarmic is easily broken up, then turn it upside down as it will then break down and then ask around (maybe from some friendly farmer )get some top soil aprox 5 " in depth.

    Digging tarmac up is no easy job so maybe a digger is required?

    I would suggest planting a small section at a time, that way you can see what works and what doesn't. Seed a lot in a one space to give you an idea of what you want. The space you have is huge

    Hope that helps.............a little

    Good luck

  • AliPAliP Posts: 64

    It sounds to me like it would be worth you speaking to a few wildflower seed companies. Clearly things have colonised this area already so it maybe that there is a certain wildflower seed mix that will be perfectly happy.  You are right in that they like poor ground so you don't want to add topsoil as this would be too rich, I guess you could add a layer of subsoil over the top as i'm assuming the tarmac is so broken down that the area drains easily?  Sarah Raven did a brilliant series on wildflower recently you could check out the website or call for some advice. Hope this helps and good luck!

  • Eddie JEddie J Posts: 108

    Something to think about in relation to removing the old tarmac, is that once lifted it is considered contaminated waste and you may have problems getting rid of it. Check with your local skip/waste removal companies before taking this route.

    If this were me, I would hire a breaker and punch loads of holes through it to help with drainage, then spread a layer of suitable top soil over the top.

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