After a conversation I had with my mate Wayne at the Big Garden on Wednesday I’ve been doing some research into creating a wild flower meadow. Any garden will benefit from allowing even a small area to become a haven for wildlife. It’s good for bio-diversity, and it’s good to encourage pollinators onto your plot.
So if you have even a small grass area and you want to convert it to a wildflower meadow start by clearing the grass, then ensure that you sow some yellow rattle ( Rhinanthus minor) this is a hemi parasite that fixes its roots onto the root systems of adjacent grasses and extracts water and other nutrients it needs thus weakening the grass and giving more delicate plants a chance to establish. When the yellow rattle dies back at the end of its growing season (around July) it will leave a gap that other wildflowers can grow into. Dig out the grass and rake over to create a fine tilth to sow seeds into. As most wildflowers are perennial be patient as they will take a good couple of years to establish.
To maintain the meadow mow in late august or early September and leave the cuttings in situe for a few weeks to allow the seeds to fall onto soil. Then remove hay so as not to increase fertility. As wild flowers tend to do better in low nutrient soils which prevent more vigorous grasses from taking over.
Wildflower seeds can be gathered from fields (with owners permission) just collect the seed heads in bags and then sow in your meadow. Alternatively wild flower seeds can be purchased for very little cost most discount stores now seem to have a range of wildflower seeds averaging at around 99p per pack.