Delicate, expansive and ever-so pretty, a wildflower garden is perfect for those with a bigger outdoor space and a love for nature.
Providing an eye-catching effect and a haven for butterflies, bees and other wildlife, a meadow-style garden will bring huge benefits to your lawn. Perhaps your outdoor space is large, flat and you’ve spent too long trying to decide what to do with it or you love the idea of a section of your garden being able to provide a lively feeding and nesting ground for birds, insects and small animals.
Either way, choosing to grow a wildflower garden will provide long-lasting benefits as well as being an inviting and beautiful area outside. And the best part? Wildflower meadows grow best on unproductive soil where robust grasses can’t compete with the flowers, so if you have a patch of land that has been bothering you, this could be the perfect solution.
Add to this the fact that a transformation of this kind will encourage a fantastic range of wildlife you can discover in your own back yard and you’ll be off to the shops to buy your seeds in no time. This is ideal for the likes of hedgehogs, bees, dragonflies and damselflies, butterflies, moths, bats and birds, and also expect to spot small mammals, frogs, toads, newts, lizards, snakes and crawling insects. With a massive decline in ‘unimproved grasslands’ in the last 90 years in the UK (there has been a 99% reduction, according to the RSPB), growing your own meadow garden will be a fantastic way to encourage insects, mammals and birds alike to enjoy your space and much as you will.
If you’re unsure where to start, it’s a good idea to speak with a landscaper or gardener and discuss the ideal place to start growing your enchanting wildflower garden. The professionals will be able to offer the best advice for your particular space, including the prime position, planting time and aftercare.
If you want to bring a whimsical touch to your lawn, then read on for our top tips on how to create the wildflower garden of your dreams.
Seeds and space
The most important thing you will need is premium grass and wildflower seeds and the likes of Nature’s Seed will be able to provide you with an array of choices to make your meadow look amazing. Decide whether you want the same look each year with minimal gardening effort after the initial phase and go for perennials, or if you think you’ll likely to want to change up the look each year, go for annual seeds. Choose a mix of seeds to spread a range of colour throughout and plan to sow the seeds in autumn.
An important consideration is where to place your wildflower garden if it is to only take up a section of your outdoor space. The ideal spot is a sunny one and a larger area to grow an array of pretty wildflowers, and it doesn’t matter if the area is flat or sloping.
You will most likely want to hire a professional gardener for this stage as can take several weeks to remove the weeds and prepare the ground for sowing, though if you’re a keen gardener yourself, then go for it! As mentioned, autumn is the optimal time for getting the seeds in the ground so give yourself plenty of time to remove weeds and strip the existing lawn and topsoil before. Take the top three to six inches of topsoil along with any weeds and create soil with a consistency of breadcrumbs and cover with a black plastic sheet to kill off any remaining weed seeds.
Time to sow
Opt for roughly five grams of seeds for every square metre of space and blend with dry silver sand (three to five times the amount of sand per seed is ideal). Scatter the mixture and try your best to get even coverage ensuring that you walk across the soil to guarantee the seeds and soil meet. It could be a good idea to cover with a net to avoid birds eating the seeds and, as with any new planting, give it a really good water until established.
Be sure not to mow your meadow throughout spring and summer to allow for bountiful and beautiful coverage. During the first growing season, cut growth in midsummer and remove dead stuff, while keeping an out for weeds, and choose shears over a mower. Leave cut hay on the ground for a week to ensure seeds have dropped then clear away, and a top tip is to vary the time of cutting each year with a focus on mowing throughout autumn.
After all of your hard work, it shouldn’t take too long for you to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour, so sit back and eagerly await the visits from the weird and wonderful creatures that will now call your garden home.