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I've got a steep grassy bank at one side of my my drive, which is covered in a hardy grass (not sure what, about 15-20cm high).  I am really keen to get a bit of colour in there (love the idea of wild/meadow flowers). There is now way I can dig clear the area of all the grass, so I need something I can scatter/sow/plant, which will add colour and compete with the established hardy grass. Any ideas?


Is it the sort of grass you cut back novice or is it just left to look after itself?

I haven't cut it back, it's just left to look after itself. I'll try and post a photo if that helps. I'm down in Cornwall too, so climate is mild and it south facing so gets the sun for most of the day.


Yes, good idea, do a photo



I think you'll have to find away of cutting it if it's going to look good. 

If it were mine I'd clear a bit at a time and plant up with something tough, lesser knapweed or dog daisies maybe and some cowslips. But everything in gardening needs attention. Wildflower meadows need cutting back at least yearly or they disintegrate into a mess. You could weaken the grass by sowing yellow rattle into it in the autumn. 



Foxgloves, aqualegia, hardy geraniums, primroses, native bluebells, ferns, honesty, Queen Anne's lace; all the things you find in road-side verges/banks. You will need to strim/brushcut once a year. Cut later rather than earlier then the plants have time to seed.

Hiya novice

I know you mentioned wild flowers but how about osteospermums there?  I,would weedkill the grass etc and plant out osteospermums .....spreading out the stems and pegging them down.  Perfect for them there.

I'm in Cornwall too and osteospermums thrive here.  Or Erigeron?  

Thank you for the advice.

Orchid Lady

I have a flat but high border of grass at the front of my house.  It only gets sun in the morning.  I am going to sow some of the many poppy seeds I have in it and also some Cornflowers, other Cornflowers seem to survive down the lane where I live so I hope that will work.  I can't really give advice as I'm not knowledgeable enough but will enjoy reading the answers for more ideas for me too

Mike I agree it's far better to talk side by side about a project.  The pros and cons are soon sorted.  I guess that's where the forum helps 


I think it would look worse when cut as Mike says, but in the long run much better. Lots of grasses are tussocky if left, cocksfoot for one,but a good strim sorts it out.

It just looks like neglected grass now. What I wouldn't do is dig, except  holes for planting. It's all holding now but if you loosen the soil it will be away down the drive in the first heavy rain.

I'd cut it, wait for it to grow, kill patches with glyphosate where I wanted to plant, then just make planting holes. If you're using native plants suitable for your soil they'll be able to cope with that.

Then give it all another cut when seeding is over in the late summer. 



As your bank looks as though it is in a rural situation, try to avoid plants that are more at home in a cultivated garden.  Look closely at hedge banks as you drive about and try to replicate those.  Subtle is best!


I agree, large, bright-coloured double flowers. No 


Hi there novice3,

I agree with nutcutlet on the yellow rattle for your area of grass – I might even suggest you see this as a 2yr project where you only sow/plant plugs of yellow rattle in year 1.

I’m trying yellow rattle on a much smaller scale in a semi cleared, area. My grass mound was sown with wildflowers in mind too but the young grass at just 2yrs still choked space for the flowers to grow. My sowing was last November so I've yet to see this plant growing.

I found this info for you:

“Can Yellow Rattle be used to reduce grass growth? 

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) is a hemi­parasite which photosynthesizes for itself but also parasitizes the roots of some plants, especially grasses. Because it removes nutrients from the grasses, they produce less growth and the balance of competition is changed in favour of the wildflower species in a mixture.  Yellow Rattle can also build up in patches and then die out, especially if it the host grasses die out.  The bare patches are then open for colonization by wildflowers.”

Source: (more on wildflower meadows there too)



It works more efficiently than I thought it would. I was amazed.

I suppose as it runs out of grass to be parasitic on the YR dies and the grass comes back. 

I think maybe it's only semi-parasitic though, I've had it growing in the gravelled nursery area.

Oooooo, nobody likes my bright,flower suggestion.  Is it because I wear yellow trousers, blue shoes and red bow tie? 

A friend of mine has a long sloping bank below a hedge on the main road. ,it was overgrown with grass and bramble.  Now it is home to osteospermums and looks......yes, bright with summer flowers.  Cornwall is home to such displays of temder,summer lomg flowers like Osteos, Erigeron, mesembryanthemum, etc.  The light bright comditions in Cornwall are conducive to this sort of plantIng


You could add ajugas, geraniums, thrift, black grass, ipheion, sedum. My first thought was cornus but they can get large very quickly, though Midwinter Fire or Midwinter Beauty can stay fairly compact.

Wow, so, so much to think about.  Thank you all very much for your advice, I'll let you know how I get on.

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