It seems that wildflower meadows are fast becoming the latest trend in garden and landscape design whatever the size of garden, or grounds, that might be on offer. In fact, I decided to write this piece following a recent request for the incorporation of a wildflower area in what is little more than a postage stamp size garden for a client who hates maintenance.
1: Wildflower meadows, or gardens, are reasonably high maintenance and require patience, along with a regimented regular intervention if they are to have any chance of success.
2: Wildflower meadows, lawns, gardens, is a bit of a generic catch all term, hence before you even consider installing one, crucially, you need to understand the conditions of your site. Firstly most important of all the condition of the soil, successful wildflower cultivation needs a poor soil. Rule of thumb, the poorer the better. If your soil is rich you may have to ditch. The alternative is to strip out the good stuff and import a lot of sterile, make sure the pockets are as deep as the desire
3: Believe it or not there is no single seed mix when it comes to wildflower cultivation, there are instead many different mixes depending on the site conditions you have, for example is the ground generally wet even in summer, or is it, constantly wet in winter drying out to cracked earth in summer, is it in shade, or part shade, full sun, acid, or alkaline? The answers to all of these questions will be equally important in ascertaining the correct mix to max your particulars, which in turn increases your chances of success.
4: Site preparation is paramount, assuming you are not going to need to strip out tons of topsoil to replace with barren soil, the quickest and most efficient way to prepare the ground in preparation for wildflower seed sowing is (unfortunately) to spray the ground with a systemic weedkiller, then leave the area for at least two weeks, when you will return to remove all the dead vegetation. Once cleared you should scratch the surface layer, tools for this will be dependent on the size and nature of the plot, this will give the seeds a better chance of germination. Leave the site again for a couple of weeks to see if any further weed germination takes place and once again, spray, leave, remove.
5: Having worked out your square meters you will by now also now also know what type of mix you need, the weight of seed needed for the area will be determined by this mix and can be purchased from a large number of specialist companies, but choose carefully, as many are not as good as they might seem. Seed should ideally then be sown at the end of summer, or failing that, early spring. Once sown get ready for at least the next five years of work in order to create a successful wildflower meadow.
I did say top 5 tips, didn’t I? Well here’s an added bonus, if all of the above five top tips prove a little too much call in a landscape garden designer to sort it all out for you.
Year 2 if you are lucky it may start to look like this:
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