The Huddersfield Gardener
|Posted on 29 September, 2014 at 13:40|
We can create a wild flower area/meadow for you. Spring or Autumn is the time to sow.
How to Create
Wildflower meadows are best located on land that we know to be infertile. Fertile soil encourages the growth of grasses and weeds that will in time overwhelm our wildflowers. The grass seeds that we select should be comparatively fine and slow growing as this restricts competition and allows our wildflowers to flourish. As a general guide 5 grams of grass and wildflower seed should be distributed evenly over each sq m of ground.
If the soil is fertile the topsoil should be removed from our site, down to a depth of 5cm, in order to reduce the fertility of the area. Less fertile subsoil should take the place of the removed topsoil.
If we are sowing seeds on lighter soils it is fine to sow them in the autumn because they generally germinate and establish themselves quickly on such soils. However, if the soil in question is heavy it is advisable to wait until March or April of the following year before sowing because waterlogging may result in poor germination and establishment rates. We should bear in mind that winter frosts can help to breakdown the dormancy of some seeds, so it can be a good idea to sow in the autumn. Another advantage of sowing in the autumn is that birds are less likely to consume the seeds because other foods are plentiful at this time of year.
Firstly weeds should be removed from the area manually or by using a systemic weedkiller. We should rotavate the remaining soil. Alternatively it can be dug over. The area should be firmed by using feet or a roller. The soil should be raked so that a fine tithe is formed. We should then wait for a period of about 5 weeks to elapse before removing any remaining weeds with a hoe. The seeds should be sown and then the ground should be irrigated. It is a good idea to cover the area with netting to prevent birds eating the seeds.
Plants that could be incorporated into a wildflower meadow include: Centaurea scabiosa, Knautia arvensis, Leucanthemum vulgare, Ranunculus acris.
Establishing a wildflower meadow on an area of turf is definitely financially beneficial. Less money needs to be spent on maintenance. For example, less mowing is required.
Wildflower meadows are far more beneficial to our ecosystems. For example oxeye daisies support a wide range of insects. These insects in turn attract predatory invertebrates, small mammals and birds.
Developing wild flower meadows on previously grassed areas will add interest and lead to you acquiring a greater diversity of plant species. A concern may be that areas that are unmown, could be perceived as uncared for. Paths can be mown through wildflower meadows so that people can easily and comfortably walk through them and this ensures no one is under the impression that an area has been left to go wild through lack of attention.