I’m sitting at my desk on a blustery January day, enjoying the wintery sun coming through the window and planning a summer wildflower display. Here’s a quick insight into my thought processes…..
Why Choose Wildflowers?
I’m lucky to live in a rural area, but even so, there doesn’t seem to be an abundance of summer wildflowers in the fields and hedgerows. Neither are there many flowering plants in front gardens. Folks in this village use their gardens for car parking. Plus everyone in the house needs to work full time to pay the mortgage – so there isn’t much time left for gardening.
This beautiful summer wildflower display was planted by the owner of the pretty thatched cottage. I think it looks amazing and probably even adds value to the property.
I’ve digressed – apologies.
What I’m trying to say is that as a beekeeper, a nature lover and a granny who wants her grandchildren to appreciate nature, I think wildflowers are a vital part of our ecology and our heritage. And I want to preserve them.
Where To Use Wildflowers
There are a huge number of wildflower species native to the UK and each one is beautiful in its own way. In fact they are just as lovely as some of the more highly bred and exotic plants available.
I’ve gardened with wildflowers for a long time. I’m proud to have a small wildflower area in my back garden (my bees are quite happy about it too). Now I want to use Meadowmat to establish wildflowers in the front of my house – for all the world to share.
Wildflowers can be used anywhere, in parks, on road verges, living roofs, back gardens, front gardens, golf courses – you name it, they’ll adapt.
The only caveats for planting wildflowers are sunlight and soil type. There are some shade tolerant wildflowers but they’ll not thrive in very deep shade. Those that like dappled shade have been incorporated into Meadowmat Woodland Shade. I may have to use some of that beside my hedge. Most of our meadow type wildflowers like sunshine – as much of it as they can get.
Soil type is important. As gardeners we have been conditioned to improve the soil at every opportunity. Digging in compost, adding mulch and using fertiliser are all part of the gardening year. However, wildflowers hate all that. They want depleted soil. Really poor quality with very few nutrients. You wouldn’t be able to grow cabbages in wildflower soil, but then you won’t be able to grow wildflowers in the soil that cabbages like.
So, when you are looking for the seeds and plants to create your summer wildflower display, think very hard about the soil in your garden and take steps to reduce its fertility.
How To Create A Summer Wildflower Display
I’m a busy gardener (I nearly said lazy but my new year promise is to stop beating myself up). I want this display to last more than one year. I don’t mind doing a bit of maintenance, but I don’t have time to offer intensive care. Which is why I’m choosing wildflowers rather than roses or summer bedding.
I could sow wildflower seed. But, I’ve worked in this industry for a long time. I’ve tried growing wildflowers from seed and failed dismally. I’ve also heard stories from other people – experienced gardeners some of them – who have struggled. So I’m reluctant to try it again.
I could buy individual plants from the garden centre or from a specialist supplier. There aren’t many wildflower plants in my local garden centre and I’m not keen on buying plants online. I want to see them and make my own selection.
So my choice for establishing wildflowers is Meadowmat. Every time. It does have some grasses in the seed but I’m ready for that. By installing onto low nutrient soil, I’m confident that the grasses won’t be able to take over. If they do, I can weed some of them out and I can sow yellow rattle seed to weaken them. It’s no big deal.
Which Wildflowers To Choose
There are so many different species of wildflower out there that it’s almost impossible to pick my favourites. Here’s my wish list for wildflower properties. I’m going to need a selection of species to achieve this – hence I’ve already settled on Cottage Garden Meadowmat
- Long flowering period
- Bright summer flowers
- Resistant to pests or diseases – I don’t want to be using chemical pesticides
- Repeat flowering if possible (I don’t mind doing some deadheading)
- Happy in dryish soil
- Copes with full sun for half the day (my garden is west-facing)
Each type of Meadowmat has a different seed mix. I used “traditional” to make my mini-meadow and then extended it using “birds and bees”. For the front garden, I want an extra “pop” of colour so I’m picking Cottage Garden. It has some non-native species in it but they are all ones that my bees will like. Hopefully, they’ll encourage butterflies too.
On the other hand, all those wonderful things under my office window will make it very difficult to concentrate on work….oh well – what is summer for if it’s not for relaxing with the sound of bees in the background?
When To Plant Wildflowers For A Summer Display
If you are using seed to create your wildflower area, wait until the soil warms up a bit. March-April is the ideal time for most of the UK.
Pot plants can go in at any time of year. They look a bit sad during the winter months but will soon perk up as the days get longer.
Meadowmat can also be installed at any time of year. However, if you are planning a summer wildflower display, make sure your Meadowmat is planted before the end of March. That way the plants will have a chance to root in and get really well established before the flowering season.
Where To Buy Meadowmat
Simply click on this link. It will take you through to our online retailer Turfonline where you can place your order securely.
If you prefer to order by phone, the number is 03300 372820
Any questions? Email the Meadowmat/Turfonline team