At the time of publishing this article, there remains a last grasp opportunity until the autumn to create a wildflower meadow in your garden. We’ve already written in a previous article how building of houses and the paving over of front gardens has had an impact on not just flora and fauna, but also more sinister implications like localised flooding and subsidence, and so this article is all about rebalancing suburban ecology.
A wild flower meadow is best suited to nice sunny parts of your garden. Unlike planned beds whereby you introduce specific plants and shrubs in exact parts of the plot, a wild flower meadow is largely ‘random’. Wild flower meadows found fame in 2012 at the Olympic stadium as several acres were seeded in this way around the stadium.
The easiest way of creating your own meadow, is, during either early/mid Spring or autumn, to sow packets of wild flower seeds. You don’t want to leave this until the frosts and ideally the ground will already be fairly warm, hence autumn is probably a slightly better of time than spring.
Ideally, you’ll have a fairly fertile, but not overly fertile plot. You certainly don’t want recently the plot to have been recently manured and the area should have been well weeded in order to stop the weeds from competing with the young seedlings. If need be, you can eradicate weeds from the designated area across the preceding summer months by laying cardboard over the area you intend using. 3 or 4 months over summer should be enough time to kill off weeds underneath. It just won’t look very pretty for a few months…
The best way to sow seed is by hand, into a finely prepared ‘tilth’ with the help of a rake so seed is actually drilled lightly in to the soil and not laying on top as a ready meal for opportunistic birds.
You could also convert an area of grassland, or lawn, but this brings greater risks of failure of seedlings establishing themselves since they will be competing with the grass roots. If you do decide to use an area of lawn, it may be beneficial to also introduce some seedlings that have been brought-on inside a greenhouse, so they are already semi-established by the time they planted into the ground.
If seeding in autumn, it’ll be probable, unless there is a particularly prolonged and warm autumn that year, that seedlings won’t appear until the following spring.
For a ‘political spin’ on this form of planting – it’s worth looking online for ‘Guerilla gardening’. This is where ‘activists’ sow seed in public areas, often abandoned, drab or over grown public spaces. You can even find clay made biodegradable ‘hand grenades’ that are filled with seed. These are thrown in said areas, break up and release the seed. Watch out for a future article from us on Guerilla Gardening…