how to grow a wildflower meadow

There are various things worth knowing about growing your own wildflower meadow. Watch as Sarah talks through some of her tips for a successful wildflower meadow.

If I had to list the things that give me most pleasure, in the garden here, definitely in my top 5 would be the wildflower meadow. I just completely love this place, I love sitting in our kitchen and looking out at it and seeing it teeming with pollinators, bees and butterflies, and hoverflies and also wild the garden birds they are just, the goldfinches are just loving it at the moment as sees of the early things like the campions start to ripen.

And its just its its its sort of nature enhanced in a way and I think that’s why I love it, but there are various things that’s just worth knowing about the success of a wildflower meadows and the first is it’s really important to understand the difference between a perennial meadow and an annual meadow. So, this is a perennial meadow and here we sowed this seed and up it came about 5 years ago and then we have plugged some things into it but it’s completely perennial, so it comes back year after year, and it dies back a bit in the winter, but it doesn’t obviously because it’s got some grasses doesn’t go completely like a herbaceous perennial border you have still got some green.

But then with an annual meadow it’s a different thing its full of corn poppies, corn cockles, nigella and all those hardy annuals which would be in a corn field and that is purely annual. So you sow it one year and then you rotavate it and sow it again the following year and some people get confused about that, but its really important to know the difference because you need the right seed mix if you want a perennial one or if want an annual one and the annual one is just brilliant if you’ve got a sort of dreary corner that you don’t quite know what to do with and you’re thinking about it, you can just chuck seed in and off it goes, whereas this is a permanent fixture.

At the end of July or beginning of August, when most of the plants are beginning to set seed and the seed is ripe, we then cut it off with a strimmer and then mow it at the highest setting and then things will come back and grow back there will be a second flush into the autumn. And there’s is one other thing that is really important to enhance your meadow is this plant called yellow rattle and yellow rattle is parasitical on the stronger grasses, but it needs to feed on the fescues so you need a good mix of grasses, but it reduces their strength and by doing that it then opens up what’s called the sward, which is the mix of grass and allows the wildflowers to come and seed through it. And that is why it such an essential stage in the development of a wildflower meadow, you need yellow rattle, and you sow that in the autumn with very fresh seed.

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