New wild flower garden

We have tried this before with little success and not sure what went wrong but we would like to start a wild flower garden over a woodland area in our garden. It is under trees so gets average sunshine but not masses and the grass there is very patchy so can only really do something wild there. I have tried before to grow those boxes of wild flower seeds you buy in garden centrs but without success. Can anyone advise how I can successfully sow these over a large area please? Do I need to scatter the seeds and then cover with some compost so they can germinate? I have read that it is possible just to sow them and let them germinate but did this last time without success. We do have primroses and wild garlic there but would like some colour. I would appreciate any advice from anyone else who has successfully done this please.

Posts

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 27,155

    Hi emma lou. That is quite a challenging situation as most wild flowers tend to like sunshine and once the tree canopy has developed the shade is often too much for the meadow flowers. Think of foxgloves; campanulas (nettle leaved); lychnis; welsh poppies; self heal; and campion. I think you could just scatter these wholesale and rake in gently. I think you can buy seed mixes but you might like to see if you could buy plug plants or grow your own. Good luck.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 13,892

    Certainly fox gloves and welsh poppies.  As ladybird says, once the tree canopy is in leaf, you will be struggling.  Red campion grows for me in shade, along with blue bells. If you can grow fox gloves to a size where the roots fill a 7 cm pot, then place where you want them and water them in well.

    Lamium  (dead nettles) also seem to cope in the shade.

    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Hi Emma, wildflower areas aren't an easy option for any garden. I've done quite a few now for clients and the work involved is similar to that in preparing ground for a lawn. Wildflowers as ladybird has said need sun and mostly open ground to do well. Under trees isn't a really suitable area. Some of these mixes in GC's won't contain wildflowers which would suit that situation anyway and to be honest they aren't that good either. Decent seed suppliers have better mixes which obviously cost more but the results are better in my opinion. Much of what grows in woodland is quite specific in terms of conditions. If I were you I'd be inclined to get a list of the sort of woodland plants you want and then go for either potted or plug plants and do it that way. That way you get half decent plants that are far more likely to establish and multiply on their own. Yes the initial cost would be higher but in the long term it would be an investment, as once established it would require little or no maintenance.

  • emma louemma lou Posts: 159
    Dave Morgan says:

    Hi Emma, wildflower areas aren't an easy option for any garden. I've done quite a few now for clients and the work involved is similar to that in preparing ground for a lawn. Wildflowers as ladybird has said need sun and mostly open ground to do well. Under trees isn't a really suitable area. Some of these mixes in GC's won't contain wildflowers which would suit that situation anyway and to be honest they aren't that good either. Decent seed suppliers have better mixes which obviously cost more but the results are better in my opinion. Much of what grows in woodland is quite specific in terms of conditions. If I were you I'd be inclined to get a list of the sort of woodland plants you want and then go for either potted or plug plants and do it that way. That way you get half decent plants that are far more likely to establish and multiply on their own. Yes the initial cost would be higher but in the long term it would be an investment, as once established it would require little or no maintenance.

    See original post

     Thanks all. I think the points raised are right. So plug plants and maybe bulbs?

  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,230

    Lots of good advice here Emma. I have grown quite a few woodland species from seed for my garden including primrose, cowslip, red, white and bladder campion, aquilegia and foxglove. I would follow Dave's advice and look on wildflower websites and seed suppliers. Many have a wide selection of wildflowers. I went for individual species rather than mixes which in my opinion have a 'chuck and chance it' element as you sometimes don't get the species that suit your soil type/degree of shade etc.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,087

    Lot of wild flowers grow in woodland.

    Good wildflower suppliers will do a woodland mix, seed, plugs or plants.

  • Plug plants do seem to take better than seeds! I bought lots of mini plug plants from the NatureScape Website (very cheap, would thoroughly recommend them!), and they quickly filled in the area, it's a jungle of wild flowers now :D Tried sprinkling seeds in another area and only a couple of flowers ever appeared :(

  • Have a look at www.wildflowers.uk/ I can't fault them, ordered a good number of plug plants over the last few years and they have always done well.

    Don't like this new format much on a 22" PC Screen!

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    Herb Robert is lovely and grows well in shade or sun.   Most people don't like it because it is so successful (i.e. it spreads everywhere) but if you were given a description of a cut leaf reddish green foliage plant with bright pink flowers from May through September you'd like it.  http://www.ediblewildfood.com/herb-robert.aspx

    Alternatively, you could look for cultivated hardy geraniums that are fine in shade and let them provide some colour.

    I think most plants that do well in shade tend to have light coloured flowers though.

  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532

    I know that this isn't the right place to put these but here they are,ipass these every day when I walk one of my dogsimage

    image

    image

    image

    I think the third one is champion

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