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Creating a Wildflower meadow garden.

I created a piece from my garden that is 30 feet square and mostly clay that I have tried to use a vegetable plot but as there is a large Walnut tree at one end and trees in the gardens either side the plot is covered in shade most of the time and about the only things that grew successfully were Broad Beans and Runner Beans.  As the start of this year was dry even the potatoes did not do well.  

I’m close to 80 and not inclined to commit the amount of time required to work such an unproductive vegetable garden so I have decided to change course and encouraged by a piece on Wild flower meadows on a Sunday evening TV program that’s the way I intend to go.  I keyed in the above title into this Web Page and nothing came up so the first question is:  Is there anything in these forums relating to that question and if so how do I find it?

Whilst looking for information on this subject on the Internet I came across a mass of items in short format and a large number of books so my next question is:  Would anyone care to make a recommendation as to which book they can recommend?

I am in the process of clearing the vegetable patch, digging it over and clearing it of escaped potatoes and weed which will make it ready for seeding it by the middle of September but I would like to know if when the seeds grow and the flowers and grass show themselves do they need cutting back at any stage, do they need re-seeding and do they need fertilizing so any information will be welcome.  I would welcome suggestions as to which of the many books on the subject is the best.


  • Commercial seed mixes are not always appropriate to the type of site and soil that you've got. I had a bit to do with a wildflower meadow which was sown by contractors and in two seasons almost none of the seeded plants were left, because the mix was intended for light soil and this ground was clay. I replanted the area using plugs and things are now looking up. 

    So have a think about appropriate plants and be prepared for a surprise/shock. Generally wildflower meadows are cut right down and raked off in late summer to reduce the fertility.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,262

    If you go to the top of the page you'll see a little window which says search. If you click on the magnifying glass icon it'll bring up a new search window which says 'search this site'. Clear it and then enter 'wildflower  meadows' or something similar, and then click on search and it should bring up previous threads on the subject. It should be more straightforward than that, but the search facility isn't working as well as it should just now. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,985

    Hi BML, creating a wildflower meadow isn't taking the easy option. If your ground is fertile the grass will grow strongly and swamp many of the plants. Never fertilise, the poorer soil the better to give the flowers a chance in the grass. Get a good quantity of yellow rattle which is parasitic (maybe semi parasitic) on grass and reduces it considerably. It won't be at its best in heavy clay but should do a job. September is a good  to sow a meadow. Some things will germinate quickly, some won't appear til spring. Mowing is done after plants have seeded. Especially the yellow rattle, that's an annual and won't come back the next year if it doesn't seed.

    Good luck

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • BMLBML Posts: 151

    Many thanks for the information especially the search facility.  A supplementary question.  Can anyone recommend any good books on the subject?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,985

    These two companies do a seed mix for clay soils


    Hints from the RHS,

    I don't know of any books. Christopher Lloyd wrote one called Meadow Gardens, or something similar, but it's all photos and descriptions and very little and confusing advice. Not one of his best, I usually love Christopher Lloyd books.



    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • chickychicky Posts: 10,325

    The best meadow book i have is by Pam Lewis from Sticky Wicket - i agree that the Christopher Lloyd one is more of a coffee table picture book.  There is also an informative one by Charles Flower (image) called Where have all the Flowers Gone .... But he is a bit of an enthusiast for glyphosphate, which put me off a bitimage......maybe thats where all his flowers wentimage

  • BMLBML Posts: 151

    Many thanks for all of your answers which I now have to sit down and read properly.  By the way, I don't think the "Email me when a respons is made" is working.

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