Wildflower Meadows

A wildflower meadow is both beautiful and functional. By having lots of pollinator-friendly plants, wildflower meadows encourage a variety of beneficial insects such as bees, moths, butterflies, saw flies and crane flies, as well as birds and other species of wildlife such as the endangered hedgehog. Aside from pollination, the presence of these creatures benefits the rest of the garden as well as the surrounding area by naturally controlling aphids and other garden pests like slugs and snails.

Incorporating a patch of meadow into your garden is a brilliant idea! Not only does it boost biodiversity, but they’re visually stunning when out in full flower. The best thing about them is that no matter how big the space you’re working with is, or the quality of the existing soil, there will be an option that works for you. They’re not limited to gardens either – A wildflower meadow could be the perfect solution for brightening up that patch of neglected wasteland outside your business and encouraging new people through the door.

There are a few key distinctions between perennial wildflower meadows, annual wildflower meadows and flowering lawns.
Please read below for a summary of each of the options I provide.

A true wildflower meadow is an area of native grass mixed with native wildflowers. They are permanent features and relatively low maintenance, making them the perfect solution for larger areas of land. The ratio of grasses to wildflowers in perennial meadows is usually 80:20 in favour of grass. There is a very good reason for this though, as wildflowers are not in full flower all throughout the year. The grass creates the ideal backdrop to the meadow and avoids having blank patches in the landscape.

A well-established perennial meadow needs only be maintained once a year. Contrary to almost all other plants in the garden, perennial wildflower meadows favour soil that has low levels of fertility. If a soil is too fertile, it can cause the fertility-favouring grasses to outcompete the wildflowers. Despite containing less flowers than annual meadows, perennial wildflower meadows provide fantastic habitats for wildlife and their low maintenance can more than make up for the lack of colour and vibrance when compared to flowers in cornfield annual meadows.

There are three options when creating perennial wildflower meadows – they can be sown from seed, planted as plugs, or laid as one unified sheet of wildflower turf.

As the name suggests, annual wildflower meadows are based upon a mix of annual (single season) plants that grow, flower, set seed and then die each year. Due to the combination of native and non-native (yet still beneficial) wildflowers, they’re often a lot more vibrant than perennial wildflower meadows. This enhanced pop of colour does however come at a price, as the meadow area needs to be completely cleared and prepared at the start of each new season. It’s very important to dig out any undesirable plants from the area, as they can quickly outcompete the growth of the wildflowers. Unlike perennial wildflowers, annual meadow flowers can tolerate more fertile soil that is higher in nutrients.

Annual wildflower meadows are created by spreading a premixed selection of seeds onto prepared ground in early spring. Proper soil preparation is essential to success.

This option is perfect if you’re attracted by the idea of introducing a wildflower meadow to your garden or green space, but don’t have room or aren’t quite ready to give up your traditional grass lawn. By introducing a select few wildflowers into your lawn, mowing less routinely or at a higher height, and by following a few more simple steps, I can create a beautiful space that’s fantastic for wildlife yet still functions well for you and your family.

Do you have a patch of land that you’d like to devote to wildflowers?

“Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil; in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be.”