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18/07/2014 at 07:20
I created a wildflower garden in our front garden a few years ago. The first two years were fine; it looked great, very pretty with a good mix of flowers and grasses.

The third year the clovers that were in the seed mix dominated and smothered everything else. I thinned it out at the end of the year.

This year it was the grass's turn to dominate. Much of the reseeding I did didn't produce flowers.

One thing that these articles fail to mention is that slugs and snails love wild flower seeds and seedlings. In the wild they're controlled by predators but in an enclosed, city garden you'll need to do something about them if you want wild flowers every year.

I've now cut everything down and dug up most of the grass tufts. I've reseeded and, sadly, slug pelleted the area. The next morning revealed how many slugs and snails were present.

Seedlings have started to appear and hopefully, with fewer slugs and snails around, they will have a chance to grow and put a beautiful display.
18/07/2014 at 15:16

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/52934.jpg?width=266&height=350&mode=max

 Don't know why this ended up at the top, should have been at the bottom!

Hello Chromebaby. I have been through all the trials and tribulations of trying to make one of these Homes and Gardens wildflower meadows myself.

It took a long time for the penny to drop with me (it often does) that they are completely artificial concoctions. In nature, there are two types of thing; there are "wildflowers" (usually annuals growing in recently-dug soil) and "meadows" which are permanent ecosystems in which mostly perennials grow. But the two rarely co-exist in the wild.

I have tried to create the former by buying in seed of several invitingly attractive wildflowers and planted them in a turned-over patch of soil. I just ended up with an abysmal mishmash of tangled stems with a quick rush of colour followed by another mishmash of tangled stems, this time brown and dying.

After failing to take the hint for several years, I finally gave up on that and decided to go with the soil that I have (mainly chalky) and the climate I have. I left nature to do what it wanted with what I had given it. It took quite a lot of patience with a nagging sense that this wasn't going anywhere. As you say, one year one thing surpasses all the others, the next year that plant has gone and has been replaced by something else.

I now seem to have a more or less settled "wildflower meadow" which looks exactly like the so-called weeds in the field opposite my house! But it sure is easier to maintain than the lawn that it used to be.

Keep on keeping on.

 

18/07/2014 at 16:26

Totally agree with you pansy face, the ones in the mags arnt real!  I have very small patch of grass and It is awful and "patchyi" is an understatement! I have sown so many seeds in those patches and not a thing! Not one seed has shown its face! Think at the end of summer I'm gonna cheat and either plant very small plants or plugs and choose exactly what I like and wish for in my pretend meadow  

I thought yours look pretty damned perfect so your patience certainly paid off  Chrome baby did you see monty sorting his newly planted wild flower meadow last week? If you can watch on replay that may have some good tips too 

 

18/07/2014 at 18:43
I created a wildflower garden in our front garden a few years ago. The first two years were fine; it looked great, very pretty with a good mix of flowers and grasses.

The third year the clovers that were in the seed mix dominated and smothered everything else. I thinned it out at the end of the year.

This year it was the grass's turn to dominate. Much of the reseeding I did didn't produce flowers.

One thing that these articles fail to mention is that slugs and snails love wild flower seeds and seedlings. In the wild they're controlled by predators but in an enclosed, city garden you'll need to do something about them if you want wild flowers every year.

I've now cut everything down and dug up most of the grass tufts. I've reseeded and, sadly, slug pelleted the area. The next morning revealed how many slugs and snails were present.

Seedlings have started to appear and hopefully, with fewer slugs and snails around, they will have a chance to grow and put a beautiful display.
18/07/2014 at 18:57

Indeed.

Thank you, Beausmum for the kind words. I find the more I ignore a plant, the better it does.

18/07/2014 at 18:58

So what sort of meadow do you want chromebaby?

a grass, hay, perennial meadow

or

a re-sow or allow to seed every year annual mix. 

the two don't mix as pansy says. Perennials like clover will spread and take over a mostly annuals mix but they're OK in grass

If you tell us what you want to achieve, which plants you want to grow, we may be able to help

19/07/2014 at 00:51

Thanks for the replies and insights. It's so interesting to hear about other peoples' experiences. I'm a bit behind with Gardener's World. I'll do a marathon on the iPad Sunday morning.

I've been tempted to abandon it a few times and do something more ornamental, yet still pollinator friendly, but I remain optimistic and I give it another go.

I've been aiming for a kind of hay meadow with poppies, cornflowers, ox eye daisies, field buttercups, clovers, grasses, plantains and campions to name but a few.

Here's a link to a gallery I've got on my Facebook which shows the progress of the front garden. 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2419136716946.2142433.1207232553&type=1&l=4f5c9afc1a

I'll see how it goes with slug and snail slaughter. I might just dig it all up and reseed next year if I don't get that stunning tapestry of colour I'm after.

Good luck to everyone else with their mini-meadows!

19/07/2014 at 08:13

 

Poppies, cornflowers and all those bright annuals aren't hay meadow flowers, they're 'weeds' of arable land and need tilled soil. 

See what pansy says about different types of meadow. All our native wild flowers have their own niche in the system, one habitat won't suit all.

I'm off to East Ruston today but I'll see if I can dig up any of the old how to make a meadow threads later on

19/07/2014 at 10:03

Nut - will be really interested to see how the "meadows" at east ruston are getting on - if you get this before you set off

19/07/2014 at 10:48

Nutcutlet

Ah I see. Thank you. I see what PansyFace was getting at now. So I would need to essentially dig over the ground at the start of the year and reseed when appropriate. I can do that. Although I had under planted with crocus bulbs a couple of years ago for a late winter early spring display.

I watched the most recent ep of GW this morning and Dan and Dom have a stunning wild flower patch in their garden. I want that! Mine looked like Monty Don's - as PansyFace says - a rather unsightly tangle of green stems.

Another issue I have is as the wild flower patch is right up against the house it can get easily flattened by gusts on very windy days. This is something I'll have to live with but it's worth keeping in mind when creating a wild flower patch.

 

21/08/2014 at 22:32
Where would one buy wildflower turf? Sounds ideal for my pocket handkerchief front garden. I am near Hastings, East Sussex.
21/08/2014 at 22:52

Chrome baby I missed your last post. You don't really need to dig, just loosen the surface a bit. 

There are many types of meadow mix and meadows but one thing they all have in common is a very scruffy run down period

 

Katzi, I googled wildflower turf and lots of sites came up but I've never used it so can't recommend one, sorry

22/08/2014 at 12:57

Nutcutlet

Yes the scruffy period is a trial as ours in the narrow front garden of a palisaded Victorian villa so it's very on show all of the time. I've been thinking of some perennial pollinator flowers which I could pop in to distract from the scruffy period.

Since my last post the wild flower garden is coming back to life with the reseeding I did, and slug pelleting, working a treat. If the weather stays mild for the next two months I should get a lovely display.

22/08/2014 at 13:00

I'm expecting an Indian summer

Put some photos on if you get a good display

22/08/2014 at 14:10

For my small wildflower area I sowed the wildflower seeds in small pots and then planted into the grass when a few inches high. Worked well for me.

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