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Has anyone planted a wildflower meadow?

(30 Posts)
cathyandclare Sun 09-Apr-17 17:27:09

We're re-doing our garden to get rid of the vast boarders, packed with ground elder, creeping buttercup and nettles! We've planning some more formal stuff, lawn and box near the house. But here's a biggish area to the side, with a few fruit trees and we were thinking of adding some more trees and aiming for a wildflower meadow-type look. There are lovely pics on pinterest, but every time I've planted wildflower seeds before it's been a bit of a fail.
Any top tips welcome!

cathyandclare Sun 09-Apr-17 17:27:46

Hehehe... vast borders!

JT05 Sun 09-Apr-17 18:00:53

No tips I'm afraid, I also failed in th H/H garden. This year I'm resorting to planting things like love in a mist and pretending they're cornflower!

lasttimeround Mon 10-Apr-17 08:32:12

I grew the one you can buy in almost every gardening shop from seed last year. Nice and easy but did come up taller than expected and long stalks didn't stand up that well to rain.

AlternativeTentacle Mon 10-Apr-17 08:36:22

Wildflowers need nutrient free soil, whereas the trees you have need nutrient rich soil. Which means that grasses tend to use the nutrients and take over the wildflowers. Which is why they usually fail. Having a wildflower meadow is actually quite hard work.

shovetheholly Mon 10-Apr-17 08:56:07

Alternative is absolutely right - a wildflower meadow, properly done, is a high maintenance option. Not more so than a herbaceous border, but it's not the "easy", wild thing that many people think it is, particularly at the start. It is, however eminently worth the effort in the summer if you are prepared to put in the time and energy to get it right. You need to get the plant balance bang on to suppress grasses, which will outcompete everything given half a chance, you'll need to mow at exactly the right time of year to ensure seeding, and you'll need to keep growing and replenishing some of the wild plants in the first few years.

It can be done under fruit trees, however. My father looks after a SSSI nature reserve that involves centuries-old meadowland and an equally old orchard. smile

LIZS Mon 10-Apr-17 08:57:39

Has anyone tried using http://www.seedball.co.uk/

ElasticFirecracker Mon 10-Apr-17 09:25:12

This looks interesting, but don't know whether it would be feasible for me as I have such a huge plot to c

ElasticFirecracker Mon 10-Apr-17 09:27:01

Sorry

...huge plot to cover.

I'm having a go this year with a wildflower mix. I'm just getting the area prepared for the seed.

clarabellski Mon 10-Apr-17 14:06:15

I think 'meadow' is a bit of stretch but I did cover about 3metres squared with a couple of different types of perennial/annual wildflower mix (interspersed with a couple of 'proper' plants - rose and skimmia). It looked reasonably good last summer (but not as idyllic as the pinterest pictures I imagine you've seen!). We've now got some new stuff coming up but I'm not sure what is wildflower mix and what is just stuff coming into the garden on the breeze! It will be interesting to see if it looks OK this summer or not. I'm not sure how much of the mix was annual versus perennial and the seed packets didn't actually list all the species so its a bit of a guessing game when the various plants come up!

sweetheart Mon 10-Apr-17 15:31:23

Can i jump on the bandwagon here??? We have an area at the bottom of our garden where there are lots of trees so nothing grows on the ground. I was hoping maybe to get bluebells and snowdrops etc growing there? Is this what you mean by wild meadow. And does the fact there are lots of trees mean other things won't grow? It's very shady and no grass even grows there.

GingerKitCat Mon 10-Apr-17 21:22:52

I'm trying it for the first time - in my neighbour's garden! They're not gardeners and have allowed me to dig a border the length of their sunny fence (the back of my shady fence) ha! The rest of the garden is lawn/ apple tree/ low hedge (other neighbour takes care of that!) Very wildlife friendly basically.

I've used Miracle Gro Flower Magic. The soil is fairly poor and the border reasonably wide. I'm hoping the wildflowers will come up before the grass has a chance to recolonise smile

I shall try and report back with photos in another month...

Polyanthus Tue 11-Apr-17 23:01:51

We have an area of the garden with 6 fruit trees - they are dwarf varieties so ea ch only about 6ft tall . We strim the grass/ weeds in summer but in spring it's really lovely with bulbs. First crocus, then Scilla, tete a tete daffodils and fritillaries . And a few other narcissi, tulips and allium.

So if annual wildflowers don't work in the grass because of the soil requirements mentioned by pps, think about bulbs for Spring instead.

cathyandclare Wed 12-Apr-17 09:52:30

Thanks so much for all the advice, let's share pictures when they're all patches of long grass with weeds blooming That sounds great Poly. I think I'll plant some aliums now ( are there any other bulbs I can plant now? I'm impatient- not the best trait in a gardener grin )and also sow some meadow grass mix and some annuals, then plant some more bulbs in the autumn and see where we go from there.

The seedballs and the turf look great but it's quite a big area and it's just too expensive sadly.

NameChangeInCasePeopleRecogn Fri 14-Apr-17 21:38:52

Yes I have, in a couple of different gardens and have always found it easy. The last couple of years I have sown a wildflower meadow on the garden behind mine to improve my view and frankly, it looks amazing!

NameChangeInCasePeopleRecogn Fri 14-Apr-17 21:40:46

It was pictorial meadows 'Candy Mix'.

lasttimeround Sat 15-Apr-17 07:20:01

That's lovely name change.

JT05 Sat 15-Apr-17 07:51:31

Wow, nameCange that looks amazing. The ground is obviously very open.
The bit I'm trying to 'improve' is at the bottom of a steep slope, surrounded by shrubs. The previous owners kept it as a lawn, but after one mowing I'd had enough. I have planted a cherry tree and an apple tree there. Previous attempts at wild flowers have failed, so I'll try annuals this year.

NameChangeInCasePeopleRecogn Sat 15-Apr-17 13:27:00

Thanks! It helps that it is south facing. Has taken me 3 years to properly clear the land - was covered in brambles etc. It's actually the garden of an old social club and for ages they didn't want me to do it, think they thought I was trying to steal their garden!

Am posting another pic just to show off now grin looked just like the picture on the packet - fingers crossed it looks good again this year, it's an annual mix so am currently weeding and will re sow in a couple of weeks.

cathyandclare Sat 15-Apr-17 13:37:52

Ouch, just worked out how much the seed for a Pictorial Meadows mix ( very inspired by your pic Namechange ) and it's £480, which is a lot, especially if I end up with a big field of weeds grin

NameChangeInCasePeopleRecogn Sat 15-Apr-17 13:45:13

Pictorial meadows isn't cheap. I think it depends if you're choosing an annual or perennial mix, with perennial being dearer (and harder to establish).

The patch I did was 15m x 15m and was about £125.

NameChangeInCasePeopleRecogn Sat 15-Apr-17 13:52:08

Regarding 'top tips' I think the key was properly clearing the weeds etc. In the first year I didn't do that properly and the brambles etc just came back with a vengeance and crowded out the meadow. This year I've had some helpers which has made a massive difference. I also made sure I showed the seed immediately after the soil had a final turn with a rotivator, so the annual weeds didn't have a head start on the flowers. There was hardly a weed amongst it!

AllTheWittyNamesAreGone Sat 15-Apr-17 13:57:26

That's picture perfect NameChange

BeyondThePage Sat 15-Apr-17 14:00:18

Don't plant Nigella - love in the mist unless you want it FOREVER... bloomin pretty , really invasive weed.

NameChangeInCasePeopleRecogn Sat 15-Apr-17 14:11:19

It also (many moons ago) used to be a boules court, so there was lots of gravel to dig in, which I am sure helps as it makes the soil so free draining.

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