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Author Topic: Wild flower meadow questions  (Read 322 times)

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Wild flower meadow questions
« on: July 28, 2019, 06:52:16 pm »
We have to have some fairly extensive digging (for us) as we are ( reluctantly but unavoidably) replacing our septic tank and putting in a new drainage field in a fresh area of ground. There will be a significant amount of soil excavation due to the positioning of the new tank and all the drainage pipe work. The contractor says he  could remove or spread out the excess soil  as far as possible around this site, filling various hollows in the immediate area, to leave us with an affected area about the size of a of couple of tennis courts. This will be made up of any surviving grass, and some large areas of fresh bare soil, subsoil, and no doubt small rocks. Any large rocks will be removed. We will have to lose some small trees in the process ( 3 I think)  leaving us with half a dozen trees providing some shade. The removal of the trees should create a couple of areas that will require back filling.

The land to be used in this way is a part of the garden which is less cultivated than the bits immediately around the house, is not mown so enthusiastically and is mainly a series of mown paths through grass that has been allowed to grow quite tall, has lots of bulbs that we inherited and is euphemistically referred to by us as 'the wild garden'. We were originally planning to just re sow the grass where needed.

However, rather than just sowing grass again we have some questions. Although the area is quite shaded it faces due South, is at 600 feet above sea level and has some sun on most of it at some part of the day.

1) is this a good time time to plant a wild flower meadow-  which would fit in with how we have 'maintained' this area. 
2) can anyone recommend a wild flower mix and a supplier?
3) what recommendations does anyone have about how we should approach this?
4) what pitfalls should we be aware of.
Greg
 
Voss Electric Fence

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2019, 09:19:42 pm »
I watched Countryfile tonight.  Adam has very wide wildflower areas round eh edges of his fields.  From memory they need poor soil.  The RSPB has details - https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/give-nature-a-home-in-your-garden/garden-activities/startawildflowermeadow/
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2019, 10:21:18 pm »
that is helpful Doganjo and a good place for me to start.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2019, 11:51:08 pm »
It's a wonderful idea  :thumbsup:
There seem to be two different types of wildflower meadow.  One is the generic type which comes out of a seed packet and contains lots of pretty flowers such as cornflower, rudbeckia, cornmarigold and so on.  These may or may not be native to Britain or to your area.  The other type of wildflower meadow is made up of flowers and plants native to your precise area and locality, such as you can see growing on the verges.  The first type is clearly much easier to effect than the latter.  Both will attract wildlife such as bees, hoverflies, wasps, butterflies, rabbits, voles and a whole host of birds.  Which one you choose is of course up to you and depends on your reasons for planting the meadow.  If it is just an extension of your garden, then the generic type is very pretty and easier to get going than the latter.
With all your disturbed ground, you are going to get a big burst of weeds, from seeds floating in on the wind, or brought by birds, weeds such as docks, thistles, ragwort, nettles etc, all stuff you don't want. If you sprinkle wild flower seeds on the same exposed ground the weeds will outcompete them straightaway.  This is a big problem and I have no suggestions for dealing with it, sorry, except perhaps to cultivate the whole lot to kill any emerging weed seeds, then in the autumn, plant out actual wildflower plants, sourced from a nursery which gets its seed stock locally.  Obviously plants v seeds, seeds win on cost.
There is plenty written online about the two types of wildflower meadow, with information and help available on how best to set about it.  I think you would be best to do some research online, speaking to the professionals, as otherwise I worry you will be disappointed.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2019, 11:54:25 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2019, 08:02:46 am »
Wow. FW that is a great deal of helpful stuff. The weed issue is a worry as I have quite enough of them already. I will do as you suggest and keep researching.thanks for taking the time to reply so fully.  I also have looked at the link doganjo sent and feel I have some good pointers. I am thinking currently I might be better combining some smaller areas of new wild flower meadow (which will require more labour) and work the other areas as ‘grass sown non mowing patches’ and see what the overall effect is.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2019, 09:55:39 am »
I'm glad it was helpful  :)   I like your idea of going for patches; with careful management the flowers should set seed and spread to the grassy areas. In your research, check about when and how to mow (meadows are mown for hay in about August, which gives them their character) to preserve your seed bank and allow the flowering plants room to grow. You might have to get handy with a scythe - very satisfying when you get into the swing of it.  It's not the no work option though, that just leads to rank weedy grass.  Good luck, and send us some pics if you have success.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

PhilW

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • North Lincolnshire
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2019, 11:26:19 am »
Here are a couple of websites I have been looking at:
https://www.meadowmania.co.uk/wild-flower-meadow.htm
https://wildseed.co.uk/home

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2019, 07:25:34 pm »
Thanks PhilW

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2019, 10:26:25 am »
Get your digger operator to first scrape off the topsoil and heap it somewhere, then do the rest of the job.  Then spread the topsoil back on top when it’s all done.  It will save you years of wrestling with trying to grow anything (except of course a few weeds you don’t want - like dock, thistle and creeping buttercup) in the infertile subsoil.  Ask me how I know :/.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Wild flower meadow questions
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2019, 01:50:01 pm »
good advice duly noted!

 

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