Author Topic: Wild flower meadow  (Read 3402 times)

Wild flower meadow
« on: 18 May, 2023, 04:46:54 pm »
Most my garden is pretty wild but lots of major perennial weeds including ground elder so my garden veg is grown in some old bathtubs. I've sown some wildflower seeds in a couple for the baths as well.

However i do have a bit of garden over the stream. Maybe 5 x 4 metres which does have nettles and sticky weed but thankfully no ground elder. Also has a lot of crap wood I need to burn

I'm considering trying to sow this as a wildflower meadow but not sure if it will work or if the existing weeds will overpower it.

Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #1 on: 18 May, 2023, 05:07:44 pm »
Last year I sowed wildflower seeds onto my lawn (Accidentally, about x20 times the amount recommended for that area) in the hope of turning it into meadow.
Nothing came up last year (to be expected) and very little has come up this year, but the grass is growing furiously.
I think the wildflowers will struggle to contend with the grass, and likewise your's will struggle with weeds.
As I understand it the wildflowers will proliferate if sown onto clear soil.
I know nothing about gardening.

Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #2 on: 18 May, 2023, 05:18:19 pm »
Stuff like Green Akanet has a tendency to intrude and overwhelm, I suspect teh prevailing conditions and neighbouring flora will tend to determine how successful it is.

Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #3 on: 18 May, 2023, 05:24:07 pm »
Ah! There's a fair bit of that growing in my front garden and the back one.

RobertW

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Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #4 on: 18 May, 2023, 05:39:49 pm »
To be sucessful you need to reduce the fertility of the soil, such as removing turf to subsoil level, to prevent vigorous plants dominating.  You also need to deal with perennial weeds like dock and dandelion, possibly by covering with carpet/black plastic if you dont want to use chemicals.

I sowed a ~2x2m area 3 or 4 years ago  with a seed mix harvested from a wildflower meadow.  I have only seen about 50% of the species listed as being in the mix.  I fear it is becoming dominated by vigorous grasses, despite having some yellow rattle, and cutting and removing the growth in the early autumn.  I do have plenty of buttercup, catsear, rough hawkbit, knapweed and yarrow.  I have also tried sowing seeds of other plants in bare areas or or in pots/growing on and planting out.  The meadow does need manageing to remove things like dock and ribwort platain which could dominate.  In all it does look far better than a lawn and does attract a range of butterflies & insects.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #5 on: 18 May, 2023, 09:01:11 pm »
I'm coming to the conclusion this 'wildflower meadow' thing only works if you happen to be on a certain sort of soil, and you're probably better accepting what wants to grow there (except fecking ground elder) to an extent and maybe encouraging what does grow.
We'll have been in this garden for 2 yrs come August. Not a lot grew in our no mow lawn last year except a small patch of clover and a little bit of self heal at the wet (but sunny) end of the garden. Nothing grew in the section I was originally going to leave for no mow. Mind you not even the grass really grew. Some stuff got tall but not most of the lawn.
This year the clover has really spread a lot round where it was and to other patches of the lawn, and I'm ok with that because the bees love it. There's quite a bit of moss in some places but that's ok, it must support something. And birds like moss in their nests.
The self heal is marching into borders but I plan to dig that up and try to plant plugs of it at the other end of the garden.
There is creeping buttercup, which I don't really want in
my borders but I suspect I will struggle to control without weedkiller. But I don't really mind if it wants to grow in the lawn. 
There were Welsh poppies growing here already, at the edges of the garden, not in the lawn, so I tried spreading them round a bit when they went to seed last year.
This year I've tried planting some yarrow plugs in one area, but only as an experiment because I happened across them at the garden centre.
I also got a stack of wildflower seed last month, some of which is to go in the shady boggy area that is currently drowning some lavender, mostly just as a suck it and see though.
I threw some cornflower seed in one section of bed as well but the cat keeps sitting on there waiting for mice to turn up so it's probably been eaten by nice, birds or squashed by cat.
I wouldn't be upset by nettles, they're important food pants for caterpillars
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #6 on: 18 May, 2023, 09:12:19 pm »
I'm fortunate the ground elder and green alkanet haven't made it across the stream. Its mostly bare soil as have used for veg previously but as has had compost heaps and bonfires thenspils probably pretty rich

citoyen

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Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #7 on: 28 May, 2023, 03:14:33 pm »
I'm not convinced sowing seeds is the right approach at all - it's potentially expensive and not likely to be successful. Why try to make things grow where they don't want to grow naturally? Much better to focus on suppressing the vigorous species like nettles, docks and brambles and creating the right conditions for native wildflower species to establish themselves of their own accord. I mentioned removing topsoil in the other thread, if you recall, and RobertW has mentioned it again here. If your soil is very rich, it may be the only option.

You won't get to pick and choose what species you have but isn't that kind of the point of wildflowers? I mean, otherwise they're not wild.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

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Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #8 on: 28 May, 2023, 03:22:05 pm »
The other thing to consider is part of the reason wildflower meadows are a good thing is that they support biodiversity. If you're sowing non-native, artificially selected species, they may well create a colourful and pretty display but they won't necessarily be the right plants to support the local invertebrate population through its lifecycle, hence probably have no more ecological benefit than a traditional English country garden. Sowing bought-in seeds also has a higher carbon footprint.

So ask yourself, what exactly are you trying to achieve by creating a wildflower meadow and are you going the right way about it?

"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #9 on: 29 May, 2023, 09:03:43 am »
We had a wildflower and grass bit in our previous garden, on a patch that used to be under-leylandi desert. I don’t remember where from, but I got native species suited to chalk soil. And it took nicely, with a little weeding. Seeding will be faster to establish than just letting stuff blow in, particularly if you don’t have much in the way of wildflowers surrounding your garden.

Re: Wild flower meadow
« Reply #10 on: 29 May, 2023, 08:41:07 pm »
My hope had been for something resembling a wild flower meadow basically but having hacked down thr weeds today as we need the space for growing veg I don't think its going to happen. I think maybe fencing off a bit of the lawn so the dog can't crap on it and seeing if can get some yellow rattle or similar to grow may be easier