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Creating a wildflower meadow

Food and shelter for birds, insects and mammals and a feast for the eyes too! Red Clover

It can be tailored to any size of garden! A natural meadow is one of the richest habitats, containing a broad range of different grasses and wildflowers, which in turn attract insects, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians into the nooks and crannies of the garden. Autumn is a good time of year to sow a meadow, its really easy to do, with lots of wildlife benefits and will create a lovely area in the garden, ideal for insect nurseries and will provide food for many animals throughout the summer.

After you have ear-marked your potential patch (note: never isolate the patch. Don’t choose an area surrounded by paths or lawn as the creepy crawlies wont be able to move around the garden!) pop to your local garden centre and invest in a few packets of mixed wildflower and meadow seeds, as these contain native grasses as well as flowers. If you want a more established look for the first year and your budget permits, then you can buy plugs of developed wildflowers and plant them around the area you have chosen as your wild meadow.

Now, there are a lot of different varieties of ‘meadow mix’ seeds, which might be confusing but try and go for the packets which have 50% grasses and 50% flowers as this will give a more natural feel to the patch and attract a greater diversity of wildlife. Another way to narrow the choice down is to find out what type of soil you have in the garden. Many seed suppliers, online and in garden centres have selections of soil type and native seed. If you want to guarantee a mature, lush meadow for next year and have the money to cheat, you can also find garden suppliers online where you can buy turf with well established wildlife flowers and grasses already to go! These patches of turf have a good 50/50 balance and are easy to lay and give immediate coverage to your plot.

Red Admiral Butterfly

Image by wwarby via Flickr

How to create a meadow

- Choose a plot in the garden, any size will do
- Clear the area of any debris lying around. Flower meadows do well in nutrient poor soil and ‘cornfield weeds’ actually do well on disturbed soil, so if the patch isn’t in the right place for you, you can move it!
- Rake the ground and disturb the soil
- Sprinkle generous amounts of seeds on the ground
- Cover with loose soil
- Water

Note: Be wary of your local garden birds. It might be worth protecting the patch until the seeds have germinated, as they will make a tasty treat for your local, feathered friends!

 

Suggested seeds

- White Campion
- Corn Chamomile
- Corn Cockle
- Corn Marigold
- Wild Pansy
- Scarlet Pimpernel
- Field Poppy

Red Clover
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