Making a wild flower (mini) meadow
Did anyone see the BBC programme ‘Bees, Butterflies and Blooms’, where Sarah Raven was convincing local councils to plant wild flower meadows?
Anyway was considering this a few year ago, but ended up just leaving a wild area full of grass, nettles etc.
So I’ve gone out and bought some wildflower seeds and was wondering can I just rake up the grass and sew seeds with a layer of soil on top. Also got daffodils in that area at the moment (13 metres x 1metre so not a meadow, just a strip of ex lawn), so maybe would have to wait until they’ve died back.
Any tips please.Posted 6 years agoMarin No 8Subscriber
Hi. I’m afraid I didn’t see that programme but I am about to sow an area approx 250m2 with a meadow mixture. Rather than me going through it, may I suggest that you have a look at http://www.meadowmania.co.uk whom we got our seed from. They have good, clear advice on establishing a new meadow. If you need to know more, please feel free to ask. GPosted 6 years agoDaveMember
Prairie mixes are good…Posted 6 years ago
If I understand right, the topsoil prolly has too much nutrient so the grass will out-compete the flowers you want. So if I were doing it I’d take off turves and about two inches of soil and fork what remains over, then sow your wildflower seed.
You can use Yellow Rattle seed to help slow down any grass, it’s parasitic on grass roots, it’s an annual flower to boot. But you need to get fresh seed, in Aug or Sept and sow it promptly.
I’d get started by sowing some oxe-eye daisy and cowslip seeds in pots.
And one has to ask what soil you have.Posted 6 years agomrgollMember
I am not an expert by any means, but I dont think soil quality would be too much of an issue – get the fork and rake out then work through any existing undergrowth and remove the pre-exisitng roots, bulbs, stones whatever gets brought up [url=http://www2.fiskars.com/Activities/Gardening/Articles/Prepping-Planting-and-Harvesting/Weeding-Effectively]more info about weeding[/url].
Beware that cultivating by hand may be quite difficult the manual way 🙄 but also probably the most rewarding (not so bad on your scale I think). On a moist day or after rain it shouldn’t be too taxing.
Seed up at an appropriate time (depends on the particulars of the seeds you obtain), sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits.
I understand that flowering can take some time with many of these types of plants (as they get established many can initially appear very ‘weedlike’).
There is a lot of quality (hard to find) advice on many websites like this info on gardening for pollinators. Get stuck in, have fun and good luck. 😀 Be sure to upload some photos of your whip next your patch in the summer.Posted 6 years ago
I like a great flower meadow and so needed for all our pollinators.
Most of my summer will be spent in them and other similar habitats, so good on you all for getting green for the wildlife.
If anyone is after a Romanian Scythe, these super hand made grass cutters will soon be heading over fresh from the hands of those village folk who make them.
Not cheap, but super sharp,excellently balanced and ultra therapeutic to use.
Price is in negotiation at present, but they aint cheap.Posted 6 years agoell_tellMember
Did a similar thing at work last year with a whole grass bank within our grounds.
Not my exact area of expertise but after consulting with the grounds maintenance contractor we just stopped mowing the area & the seed bank was good enough to develop a natural wildflower meadow. We had quite a diverse range of flora, ox eye daisies, bee orchids, clovers, long grasses & other species I can’t remember. Looked great though.
When it all died we cut it right back & hoping it will establish again this year with even greater abundance.Posted 6 years agozokesMember
Whether the nutrient status of the soil is an issue probably depends to some extent how often (if ever) you fertilise the lawn, and whether you clear the clippings when you mow. If you don’t fertilise and do take away the clippings (and their associated nutrients) then the soil is probably pretty nutrient poor already, which should be great for meadow flowers. Turning your soil may also help, but this will also bring to the surface buried seeds, and if the soil’s quite clayey, it might not be the best thing. Most meadows are relatively (compared to moorlands etc) nutrient-rich, so if you’ve not been too liberal with the fertiliser/compost in your garden, then establishing a meadow shouldn’t be too taxing.Posted 6 years agosharkbaitMember
I was thinking of doing this a few years ago but with a 2 acre paddock we’ve got. The advice I got was that I’d need to kill off the grass that’s there now, plough and reseed….. So I didn’t bother. But were the kids swings used to be is coming up that would be suitable so might do that.Posted 6 years agoMacavityMember
Wow thanks for the brilliant advice.
Macavity – the nettles were planted in the ‘wild area on purpose, however I’ve planted more in other areas.
The ground I intend to sew on is completely covered in grass, so it sounds like I need to get that up.
Not so happy about digging up the daff bulbs, as they make a lovely splash of colour in spring. Was hoping to sew around them.
As I understand it the flowers take a few years to get going, I’ve also bought a pack to sew in the woody, shady sections of the garden sections.
Ian Munro – that is stunning.
Ours is a real wildlife garden, it’s not full of perfect, preened and pruned beds and the lawn is left with clover and daisy in. just want to make it more so.
Let’s hope the badger/s (regular visitor) doesn’t dig everything up.Posted 6 years ago
Today we got started and dug out the area for seeds, a hard task of strimming, and digging up the turf in pieces. Tomorrow I’ll be sowing, hoping for some colour in the summer.
A few daffodil bulbs got dug up in the process, however it’ll be worth it.
Anybody else got going, or are you well on the way?Posted 5 years ago
Annual seed mixes, look colourful and are made up of species which are weeds. Insects love em and they look nice and because they are made up of weeds will come up like mustard and cress on any cleared earth pretty much. They will however degrade rapidly over time as not all wil self seed, so you’d need to re sow every couple of years.
Hay meadows on the other hand contain grass and perennial herbs. These are a lot slower to establish and harder to keep established. If the soil is too nutrient rich the grasses will take control and out compete the herbs, which are the things what look nice and insects like. In order to reduce the nutrient level of the soil you could spend a year or so growing the grass long, then cutting it back and removing the clippings. Then strip the turf back to bare soil before you sow. You could sow an annual mix with the meadow mix in the spring to give some colour whilst you wait for the perennial herbs to establish. Someone mentioned sowing hay rattle to control the grass growth, its a nice flower and worth sowing but whether it has any functional effect on structuring plant communities is open to debate, I have my doubts though. You could after you have stripped the turf add some saw dust which could be helpful (stimulates fungal growth in the soil).
some good advice here:Posted 5 years ago
could spend a year or so growing the grass long, then cutting it back and removing the clippings. Then strip the turf back to bare soil before you sow. You could sow an annual mix with the meadow mix in the spring to give some colour whilst you wait for the perennial herbs to establish.
Ah good because this is what we’ve done.
My only concern is the area to be seeded is very close to my raised vegetable beds, so I’ll be keeping the weeds in check more often.
Thanks for the advice.Posted 5 years ago
It’s finally started to bloom. Rain has squashed quite a few flowers, which are mainly poppies, daises, wild herbs and some I don’t recognise.Posted 5 years ago
Yes the garden needs trimming and those are the raised veggie beds in the foreground.
Well done you lot, good to see it.
I’ve just been asked to look after an orchard with 200 apple trees and 8 bee hives that fiends have purchased, including juice processing plant and the equipment to process the honey.
Both the trees and Bee’s have been neglected over the past year, so year, both yields of goodness have suffered as a result(with the weather not helping).
I plan to liven up both by sorting out the ground flora so that a healthy stock of bees is there to improve pollination of the fruit baring trees. The grass below has been uncut all year preventing much in the way of ground flora in which to keep the bees well stocked ready for the winter so that in the spring, a good sized hive can efficiently pollinate the trees, maximising fruit growth . At least that’s the theory, anything to prevent them from swarming off in search of a better source of food.
So a good mixture of woodland seeds for the shaded areas with a variety around the perimeters. Lots of research, digging, cutting, pruning, etc, will hopefully mean by next year, honey production should be high and the following year juice will be in full flow.
Might even get a little forest garden going in there, so a self regulating area providing a mix of fruit and veg through the year.
I may even talk sense after a bit of learning.Posted 5 years ago
Aye it’s getting late now!
I met a chap at a local fair who was in his 80’s and a bee keeper. He said he ran courses and took my name and number. Unfortunately I never heard and fear he is no longer with us.
Good luck with everything Sharki it sounds right up your street.Posted 5 years ago
Saladdodgeer of these parts keeps bees and is localish to me, so i’ll hopefully be enlisting him and his good lady for advice.Naturally i need to work with the local beekeepers group.
Sadly there’s few cider apple trees yet 😉
I’ve also a few tonnes of charcoal seasoning ready to burn next year. I feel a busy one coming on.
I’ll still find time though to be out with the Canon, clicking away like an obsessed loon.
And on that note it’s almost moth o clock.
🙂Posted 5 years agomcmoonterMember
I bought a pack if meadow flower seeds, a mix of poppies, corn flowers and some of our own leopards bane. Strong primary colours with one or two pinks in between. We’ve barrowed up some extra leaf mould and compost, sprinkled and tramped them in. They are in a sunny south facing spot though it is exposed a bit to the prevailing west wind. It’s been a bit warmer lately so hopefully they’ll be up soon.
Here’s a couple of before pics.
[img]https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/947156_10201162092119588_1349701796_n.jpg[/img]Posted 4 years agopictonroadSubscriber
Got those free seeds from the Soil association and a load more wild meadow seeds, raked a nice sunny patch, kept it watered, anything plant like that does grow gets eaten by slugs straight away and it all appears to be going to grass. If the flowers can’t be bothered, no wonder the bees are in trouble. Stuff the lot of em. 😥Posted 4 years ago
Great mcmoonter. Not sure about the compost though, mine are planted in very poor soil.
Have just put down another lot of wildflower seeds in a more shaded area. Still hoping that last years will reappear and make a colourful splash. Also many foxgloves seeded themselves, bees love them.
The mini meadow did its job and brought in a noticeable increase in bugs, bees, butterflies, all sorts really, even giving cover to the frogs, who in turn will gobble up the slugs.
Looking forward to everyone’s photos again.Posted 4 years ago
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