Preparing a Wildflower Meadow

A wildflower meadow is an area of permanent grass where wildflowers grow, and it provides a feeding and nesting ground for insects, birds and other pollinators!

Gardening for biodiversity: How to create a wildflower meadow

One of the simplest and most cost effective measures we can take to help #wildlife is to manage our mowing more wisely and allow natural #wildflowers in our lawns, road verges and public parks to grow and provide habitat for nature. Check out the video below to find out more!For other 'Gardening for Biodiversity' tips, tricks and advice, visit Laois Heritage Forum's youtube channel which hosts a number of different videos on what we can do in our garden spaces to help create a haven for wildlife: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxpztbwr8lkGnpJlouvdGZA

Posted by Biodiversity Ireland on Monday, June 22, 2020

Choosing an Area

Lawns and old flower borders both make ideal sites for a wildflower meadow. Try and find somewhere away from the shade that will receive plenty of sunlight.

If you have used fertiliser in the area the soil may be too rich for a wildflower meadow. You can reduce the soil fertility by removing the top 3-6 inches of the topsoil using a spade.

If you’d prefer not to strip your soil, mustard plants are notorious for eating soil nutrients. Plant these before preparing your wildflower meadow and they will lower the soil fertility of your site.

Get Rid of Weeds

Ideally you will want a really fine soil for seed sowing, as you would with a lawn. An effective way to get rid of weeds is by laying a black plastic cover over it which heats up the soil and speeds up the breakdown of weeds. This means that any weeds already in the soil will germinate and die.  

Covering soil in plastic is a great way of getting rid of weeds – Source: Saga

Choose Your Wildflower Seed

Annual Mixes- Annual seed mixes are comprised of annual species that complete their life cycle within one year. Annual mixes are generally more colourful and eye-catching than perennials, but have to be re-planted every year.

Perennial Mixes- Perennial seed mixes are comprised of plants that flower each year when properly managed, and should not need re-sowing. However, perennial meadows can take longer to establish and aren’t as eye catching or as colourful as annuals.

Annual mixed seeds create colourful and eye-catching meadows – Source: Pixabay

Sowing

Ideally use approximately five grams of seed per square metre of meadow. Simply scatter the seed as you walk along the ground, getting a nice even spread. No need to rake, just walk the seeds into the ground.

Maintenance

Try and cut the growth and remove all dead spent material in midsummer. Try not to mow your meadow from the end of April to late July, August or even early September.

Mow your meadow a couple of times during the autumn and possibly once in early spring if necessary. Weed your meadow every once and a while to remove nettles, dock leaves and thistles.

Your wildflower meadow should be a hive of pollinator activity before too long and become the life of your garden!

Eventually your wildflower meadow will be buzzing with activity! Source: Pixabay

Get in Touch!

If you have any questions about wildflower meadows contact us on social media- @CountryLifeGC (Links in footer). If you have a specific problem such as pest damage it’s really helpful to send us a picture- we’d love to help!