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Wild flowers

Sometime last year a group of Countryside Volunteers, who assist the County Council with conservation projects, planted a wildflower patch in our town. Last autumn another group of us spent several mornings weeding it, because quite a lot of unwanted species had come up. It looked very colourful over the summer with cornflowers, corn cockles, corn marigolds, ox eye daisies, mayweed, black knapweed, scabious, ragwort and others I can't remember. It is quite brown and dead-looking now and I wonder whether it should be cut and raked soon, as it is nearly November. I know Monty Don mowed his wild flower patch some weeks ago, but remember that he gave up trying to do the job with shears! The trouble is, the Council has lost its ecologist and other members of staff recently, so the remaining paid workforce are stretched. There are still some willing volunteers, but we need advice please. 




  • Catbee2Catbee2 Posts: 25

    I've just cut mine back to a couple of inches and raked off debris. Looks awhole lot better and didn't take very long

  • The longer you leave it, the more nutrients will return to the soil, which is not what you want. So strim or mow it now and rake off all the dead matter for composting.

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,915

    you should cut a wildflower meadow in late august/early September (right after the kids go back to school is perfect) wait until a dry week as you want the cuttings to lay in the sun for a couple of days as this allows the seed to drop.

    it needs to be cut about 2 to 3 inches tall and then as much raked off as possible, you want little to no nutrients going back into the soil as it encourages grass/nettles/brambles to take root.

    I would also add some yellow rattle seed as this is a parasite of grass and will weaken it, allowing the wildflowers to thrive.

    you can cut is with a scythe (if you want your back to ache) a strimmer (as long as you don't much up what you cut - as its a nightmare to rake off afterwards)

    but the easiest way is a powered allen scythe -  maybe the council will hire you one as you've taken over the maintainance of the area? round here its about £85 a day to hire or £120 for a whole weekend. you can even get a small bailer attachment.

  • Our local district council is thinking about it now - maybe a bit late in the day. I believe they are planning to do it on December 6th. It could be snowing by then!

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