Creating a wildflower meadow
- seed should be stored in the original sealed packets in a dry, dark, cool place, until use
- choose the area carefully, if shaded the seed will not germinate
- remove surface debris, vegetation and stones - remove the top layer of the area (with a spade/turf remover)7cm or > 5cm if the soil is very stony, or lay a plastic sheet over the area for at least three weeks.
- the soil should be worked when it is moist but not waterlogged
- once the vegetation, debris or stones have been removed, rotavate the area, to a fine tilth
- fertilisers should only be added if a soil analysis indicates the necessity to do so and then added when the soil is being worked to ensure an even distribution. Decayed organic matter is recommended as a soil conditioner
- you are now ready to sow your seed
- spring sowing: April, May, June.(All mixes). For Poppy from February for vernalisation purposes.
- autumn sowing: Mid-August - September, (U.K. North)
- sowing should be done in the right weather conditions, (no wind, low soil humidity...)
- sow at 3 g/m², unless otherwise stated, mixing the seed with dry sand (ratio 1 : 10 or more) or as 100% seed through a spreader that can be finely adjusted. Up to 5 g/m2 on slopes
- if possible sow twice, at 90°, in half doses to obtain a homogeneous seed cover
- raking is optional but the seed should not be covered with more than 3mm of topsoil
- if needed water thoroughly
- germination is temperature dependant and may take up to 3 weeks for all the species to germinate.
- the soil should not be allowed to dry out during this period in the top 2.4 cm
- seeds will start flowering after 50 - 60 days
- punctual watering may be required at any stage of the plants' growth if the soil becomes dry, particularly on slopes, sandy and shallow soils.
- the roots should always have access to soil humidity. Programmed irrigation should be turned off
- over seeding may be required if the seed bed preparation has not been carried out properly; it should be done manually in the areas concerned by lightly raking, hand seeding and compacting by foot
- some weed species add to the biodiversity and do not need to be removed unless they are allergens or toxic
- undesirable plants should be hand weeded before they drop fertile seed. Check regularly.
- if pioneer weed species dominate after sowing, cut down the sward to 5 - 6 cm
- end of year maintenance consists of cutting the plants down to 10 cm at the end of the flowering period (usually after the first hard frosts)
- annual meadows - organic matter will be absorbed into the soil during the winter months, alternatively, the removal of green waste may be done for aesthetic reasons
- perennial meadows - avoid the cut vegetation lying in thick mats for long periods