In the summer months, we all look forward to days in the garden – surrounded by freshly cut grass and an array of brightly coloured flowers. However, often the most favourable flowers require a great deal of time and care. Wildflowers can be a fantastic solution to keeping your garden looking vibrant, whilst also keeping down costs and improving the environment.
Besides the regular application of fertilisers, the balancing of herbicides and pesticides to keep those hungry bugs at bay and prevent the growth of weeds, the costs of maintenance can soon rack up. If you’re looking for a cost-effective, low-maintenance option, however, look no further than wildflowers.
Wildflowers are varied species of flowers that have proven themselves to be hardwearing and self-reproducing. Whilst they will grow in the wild on their own and often require little attention from their owner, wildflowers are not always native plants and you can select a wide variety of species to add colour to your garden. Thankfully, many wildflowers prefer ‘poor’ soil and being left alone, making them ideal for tough to maintain areas of your property. For cultivating a garden that’s good for you and your family, here’s our guide to how wildflowers could be the answer…
Do wildflowers require less work?
Growing wildflowers in your garden is an excellent way of keeping it looking natural and attractive. Unlike some flowers, wildflowers require much less water and fertiliser which means minimal costs and effort on your part. Using perennial wildflowers (such as agrimony, bird’s foot trefoil or betony) will also mean long-lasting results that will return year after year.
For the best possible results and ease, when creating your wildflower garden, it is always recommended that you avoid collecting seeds directly from the wild as this will seriously diminish the natural seed bank needed to keep your garden looking fresh. Instead, it is advised that you use MeadowMat – a convenient, quick and easy way to establish a wildflower area in your garden. MeadowMat requires minimal work to lay and, within just a few weeks, it will develop into a stunning wildflower area for you to admire for years to come. As your garden grows, all you’ll need to do is sit back and enjoy nature as it takes its course.
Do wildflowers help the environment?
The short answer is yes. Wildflowers help the environment in a variety of interesting ways. As pollinator plants, wildflowers help to support declining bee populations which is desperately needed by our ecosystem. This is unlike many popular cultivated plants which often have defective pollen or nectar-producing organs. Flowers with multiple petals will also block pollinator entry to the insects. This means the flower is less likely to be able to reproduce and thrive. However, planting wildflowers allows you to create an eco-friendly area that will attract birds and pollinators (such as bees, butterflies and other insects) which will help to improve the health of your garden and keep it looking fresh.
Do wildflowers help fruit and vegetables to grow?
For those of you who like to grow your own or manage an allotment, many of our favourite fruits, vegetables and even nuts rely on insect pollination. Wildflowers can help in the process of growing fruit and vegetables. UK strawberries, raspberries, cherries and apples, for example, must be pollinated by insects in order to get a good crop of healthy, juicy produce. Currently, the insects do this job for free but, in turn, wildflowers maintain a healthy population of bugs which is paramount when growing fruits and vegetables.
Did you know that wildflowers supply seeds, insects, and other food for wildlife? On croplands and forests, wildflowers also provide erosion control and aid the management and filtering of stormwater. Their root systems create a natural groundwater filtration system and reduce the impacts of drought.
How Do I Prepare for Wildflowers?
Even a wild look requires some planning and thought. The good news is that MeadowMat products will grow on any soil type due to its ability to thrive on low nutrient soils. However, if the soil is too rich in nutrients, foliage and grasses may start to grow more so than flowers. As such, we recommend preparing your garden for wildflowers in the following ways before laying the product.
Like most plants, the best time to plant wildflowers will be in the spring. Planting them at this time will give the shrubs a good long season and allow them to get established before setting seed. If you are starting later in the summer, be sure you to allow for at least eight to 10 weeks before frost if you want the seeds to self-sow.
Now you are ready to get started. Firstly, if you want your wildflower garden to have long-lasting results, you will need to choose an ideal site for your wildflower garden. This area should have full to partial sun to allow your wildflowers the correct amount of sunshine to flourish once the turf has been laid. If you want the plants to sustain themselves, this will be the most agreeable situation for them.
Before laying your MeadowMat turf, weed control is incredibly important. Unfortunately, weeds are often a wildflower garden’s biggest threat and so you should start your garden off on a clean slate by removing any and all existing vegetation or potential weeds that could impact the success of your wildflower garden. The most successful methods of doing this are to remove each weed or undesired plant by hand, making sure you fully rip out the root to prevent further growth.
Another equally successful method of removing unwanted plants in the soil is solarization. Solarization is an environmentally friendly method of using the sun’s power to remove any pests such as weeds, bacteria and insects. This process involves covering the ground (often with a tarp or transparent polyethene cover). This helps to trap solar energy which in turn will kill all vegetation, including seeds and roots.
Once you have removed any weeds or unsought pests, be sure to mow the area thoroughly and as low as your lawnmower will allow, if possible. The next step to preparing your wildflower garden is to water the area well before covering it securely with clear plastic sheeting (often available at your local garden centre or homeware store). Once covered, you will then need to leave it to bake in the sun’s heat. It is recommended that you keep the area covered for a period of around six to eight weeks.
This method tends to rely on the cooperation from the weather and so you will most likely want to check in on its progress from time to time and remove any necessary dead vegetation before later reseeding.
Maintaining a Control Over Wildflowers
Can a wildflower garden become established and continue to self-sow, without becoming too invasive? Actually, it’s important to remember that the perennials are not likely to fully bloom for the first year so you have time before your garden gets too out of control. Of course, once your garden is in full swing, there will be plenty of time to sit back and relax but, if you are hoping to enjoy the garden for years to come, it could be worth the occasional overseeding to help maintain the perfect balance of plants. This can be done every couple of years or whenever you notice an imbalance, perhaps due to unfavourable weather conditions.
If you are planting a large area and are going for that wildflower meadow look, a top-up of Meadowmat or turf grass will help prevent thin spots that can leave your garden looking sparse from flowers. This will also discourage weeds.
Some further tips for maintaining your wildflower garden include:
- Watering your garden during dry spells will keep the wildflowers looking their best and won’t spoil their flowers
- Remember, weeds will try and invade but wildflowers grow densely and initial weeding will help to prevent this. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, less and fewer weeds should appear
- Mowing can be a maintenance chore but it’s worth the work. In the late autumn months, after the annuals have gone to seed and the perennials tend to be dormant, don’t forget to mow or trim the whole area, right down to a height of about four to six inches. Of course, if your garden is far too large to even consider chopping manually by hand, it is recommended that you mow at the highest possible setting your lawnmower has. This necessary process will ensure the seed heads drop, whilst also tidying the appearance of the garden and discouraging the growth of any woody perennials that might take over.
By carrying out these tips, especially during the warmer weather (when we actually get some in the UK), you can help to keep your wildflower garden healthy and beautiful. This means that your garden will retain a sense of elegance and lusciousness that only a well-maintained wildflower garden can have.
Where Can I Get Wildflowers From?
Well, we have covered what wildflowers are and how they can really improve the look and feel of your garden, but we haven’t really looked at how you can get them into your garden.
The first thing you are probably thinking about is going out and buying a bunch of wildflower seeds. After all, the most common method of adding plants to a garden is to use seeds, so why wouldn’t you. As long as you aren’t going out and collecting those seeds yourself and are buying them from a reputable business, they are a great way of adding wildflowers to your garden.
However, you need to keep in mind that planting the seeds will take time. Then, once they are planted, the seeds will need to be looked after on a very regular basis until they actually start growing. There’s quite a lot of work involved in growing wildflowers from seeds, and it will take a while before your wildflowers are fully grown.
If you are happy to wait for your garden to really show its inner beauty, then wildflower seeds can be a nice way to go as it means you take a much more active part in your garden’s change and growth. However, if you don’t want to wait or don’t have the time to spare in order to look after the seeds, there is another option.
The fastest way to get a beautiful area of wildflowers in your garden is through a mat of turf with wildflowers already in it. An example of this would be our MeadowMat range, with each type of MeadowMat featuring a different mix of wildflowers.
These mats can be added to your garden with ease and give you a beautiful section of wildflowers, with all of their benefits, in a very short amount of time. So, if you want an exquisite looking garden but don’t have the time available to care for seeds, Meadowmat could be the perfect option for you.
With four different mixes, we can help you to get the picturesque look you want, no matter what type of garden you have. If you have a lot of shade in your garden, then Woodland Shade mix is exactly what you’re looking for. However, if you want your lawn to look like a cottage on a postcard, then why not take a look at the Cottage Garden mix for MeadowMat? Whatever you want your garden to look like, MeadowMat is a great way to add wildflowers to your garden.
If you’d like to learn more about MeadowMat or introducing wildflowers into your garden in a low maintenance and cost-efficient manner, contact a member of our team at Turf Online via our contact page or give us a call on 01832 777111 and we’ll be happy to help or provide you with a quote or answer any of your queries.