If you are reading this blog post, you’re probably thinking of creating a wildflower area in your garden or your community. Well done. It’s a worthwhile project and your local wildlife will thank you for it.
So how will you tackle the project and what will it cost?
As with most projects, there are several different ways of tackling the job. You could
- Leave an area of lawn to grow “wild” and see what wildflowers establish themselves in it.
- Sow wildflower seed and hope that it germinates before the birds eat it and that not too many unwanted plants appear
- Buy individual wildflower plants from a specialist garden centre, plant them into prepared soil and nurture them
- Grow wildflower plants from seed in the greenhouse, nurturing them as you would your half-hardy annuals or your tomato plants
- Install pre-grown wildflower matting.
Each of these methods has its own pros and cons. Time, the unpredictability of wildflower seed, the cost of new plants. We could discuss it in infinite detail but that’s probably for another blog post. For now, we’ll concentrate on wildflower turf.
A wildflower border creates a lovely feature betwixt lawn and path. This project was completed using Traditional Meadowmat wildflower turf.
The Cost Of Preparing Soil For Wildflower Turf
This all depends on the size of your wildflower area, the state of the existing soil and who will be doing the work.
Wildflower turf needs to be installed onto poor soil. If the soil is nutrient-rich, your wildflowers will be amazing in the first year. After that, the grasses will start to outcompete the flowering plants and you will find yourself with fewer species and less colour.
Laying wildflower turf is much the same as laying lawn turf. The differences lie in the size of the rolls and the soil requirements. Wildflower turf needs low nutrient soil.
A quick soil test from the garden centre will tell you if your garden soil needs to be unimproved before you can grow wildflowers. If it is high in nitrogen and phosphorus, you really ought to think about buying in some low-nutrient soil.
Preparation involves digging the soil to a depth of 15cm and raking it until it is crumbly, smooth and level. In a small area, it’s easily done with hand tools. Over a large area you might want to factor in the cost of hiring a rotavator (or a landscaper).
The Cost Of Buying Wildflower Turf
It’s easy to calculate the cost of buying wildflower turf – simply choose the variety of Meadowmat you like the most, measure the area to work out what you’ll need and either phone the Meadowmat office for a quote. Alternatively, you could work through the ordering process on the Meadowmat website without actually adding your payment details. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of delivery.
Time Taken To Install Wildflower Turf
The installation doesn’t take long at all. At least not once the ground has been prepared. I would guestimate 5-10 minutes per roll provided all goes smoothly. One roll = 2 square metres. I’ll leave you to do the maths.
If you’re hiring a landscaper, he or she will most likely quote you for the whole job – soil prep, the supply of products, installation, first watering and leaving the area neat and tidy.
Another Meadowmat project. In this case, the work needed to be carried out quickly and there will be limited opportunities for maintenance due to the proximity of the road.
Expect to spend some time watering your wildflower turf. Both immediately after installation and every evening for the following fortnight.
Maintenance and Establishment Costs
If you were growing wildflowers from seed or putting in plug plants, you could expect to spend quite a bit of time weeding until the wildflower area is well established. That doesn’t happen with Meadowmat. You will have a dense coverage of plants from the outset.
You will, however, have to water it every day for the first fortnight. Ongoing maintenance involves little more than one cut per year. No need for deadheading, pruning, disease control, thinning, pricking out, reseeding, plug planting or anything else – unless of course, you want to.
Those are all of the expenses you should expect when installing Meadowmat – unless of course you are cutting down trees or doing some other major preparation work.
I’ve not put in any actual sums because you might be reading this 5 years after I’m writing it and prices will have changed. All of the product prices are freely available on the Meadowmat web site and of course, the team at Harrowden Turf are always happy to answer questions over the phone. In fact, if you’re looking for large quantities it’s worth phoning them to see if there are any current offers.