Cowslips

What are Wildflower Seed Mixes 

Posted on April 10, 2019

Wildflower seed mixes fall into two categories.  These are Annuals and Perennials.

Annual Wildflowers

Annuals are species that you sow in the Spring or the Autumn and will flower the next summer.  To come back the following year the seeds would  need to shed and the ground be cultivated or a new seed bed prepared.   Annuals are quick to grow, they cope with more fertile soils and are generally very colourful.

Perennial Wildflowers

Perennials are sown in the autumn or the spring.  They take up to 18 months from sowing to flowering.  You leave them to grow out during the summer. Enjoy them during the summer and cut them down in the autumn. The plants will grow back again the following year.  Perennials are generally sown with grass seed. Grass is a backdrop. Perennials do best on poorer soil.  Poorer soil means that nothing grows quickly which means that the wildflowers which are slow to grow can compete.

If in terms of Annual wildflower seed mixes there are now generally two types on the market.

Native annuals species

Such as Corn Poppy, Cornflower, Corn Marigold etc.

Corn Chamomile Corn Chamomile

You can buy these individually or in a mixture.  They can be sown in the autumn or the spring and should be sown at 2 g to the square metre.  The ground should be cleared of competition, the seed broadcast on top  and then rolled in.  When sowing in the spring ideally aim to sow before the second or third week in April.  Native annuals take between 10 to 12  weeks from sowing to flowering at the quickest.  Planting later than this in the spring will reduce the flowering season over the summer.

 

 

 

 

Non-native annuals species

Such as Cosmos, California Poppy etc.

 

Instant Sunshine Instant Sunshine

You can buy these as individual species or in complex colourful mixes.  These are increasingly popular as they are very quick to grow. They provide a mixture that is very colourful and has a long flowering season over the summer.  The preparation  should be similar to the native annuals. We would suggest a slightly higher seed rate of 3 g to the square metre. Sowing to flowering can be as quick as 8 to 10 weeks.

 

To try and get either of these annuals to return the following year. You would need to cut the area down at the end of the flowering season. Leave what you've cut on the ground for a few days. The seed may then shed, then remove the dead material, scarify the ground and finally roll. This way you will have created a new seed bed.

 

Perennial wildflower seed mixes. 

Ox eye daisy Ox eye daisy

These are supplied as complex mixes of native perennial species.  You would should choose a mix that matches the soil conditions or the site.  They include species such as Buttercup, Campion, Self Heal etc.

They are slow to establish, but once they are established they will create an attractive and diverse meadow and that flower throughout the summer.  Perennial Wildflower seed mixes will be beneficial to wildlife such as butterflies and bees.  These mixes are generally sown as a mixture of grass and wildflowers creating a meadow affect with the grass as the backdrop.

Perennial Cultivation's

The seed can be planted in the autumn or the spring.  The ground should be cleared and the grass and wildflower seed mixture broadcast at 4 g to the square metre. The ground should be rolled afterwards.  The aim is to push the seed into the ground rather than bury it too deep.

Patience is needed with these mixtures as they take some time to fully develop.  Once they have though the pleasure is in seeing them come back year after year, benefiting wildlife and giving you an interesting and beautiful area in your garden.

Annuals & Perennials

In some cases people will sow a grass & perennial wildflower seed mix at 4 g to the square metre and mix with it a native Cornfield annual mix at 1 g.  This way the annuals will flower in the first year and then the perennial meadow should come to the fore from the second year onward.

There is no right or wrong way in determining which type of wildflower seed mix you choose.  What is important is that you understand the difference between the types of species and that you manage them in a way that gets the maximum benefit from them.

If you need any more information on wildflower seed mixes then contact Tim Evans at

shop@meadowmania.co.uk or ring Freephone 0800 0854399  


What are Meadow Flowers

Posted on March 15, 2018

Meadow Flowers are commonly thought of as Wild flowers. There are though, a number of groups that wild flowers can fall into. It is important if you are trying to create a natural meadow that you understand what flowers are appropriate.

Cornfield Annuals.

Cornfield Annuals in 2017 Cornfield Annuals in 2017

These include species such as Poppy, Cornflower, Corn Marigold etc. They are short lived and generally very colourful. Historically they appeared in arable fields, when the farmer ploughed the field each year it brought new seeds up to the top. With the advent of agrochemicals, they have all but disappeared in arable fields.

They are often included with meadow flower mixes to add some colour in the first year.

 

 

 

 

 

Woodlands and Water Edges

Yellow Flag Iris Yellow Flag Iris

There are specific wild flowers that you would expect generally to see just in certain habitats. So, in woodlands you would find species such as Hedge Bedstraw, Wild Foxglove and Bluebells. By the edge of water, you may find species such as Yellow Flag Iris, Purple Loosestrife and Teasel.

Some of species of wild flowers may sometimes appear in meadows but they are most likely found by water or in shaded areas.

 

 

 

 

Meadow Flowers.

Most of us when we walk down by seaside, down country lanes of across old meadow areas

Meadow Flowers Meadow Flowers

will, if we look, notice different wildflower in amongst the grass. The grass is an important part of this equation It provides the normal back drop for the wild flowers.

There are hundreds of different wild flowers that can be found growing wild in the UK. But some of the more common ones are Birdsfoot Trefoil, Cowslip, Campions, Plantain, Ox eye daisy , Wild carrot etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Many people now would like to introduce Meadow Flowers into their garden. They work best on poorer soils. This is not that they will not grow on better soil, more that on good soils the species you do not want use the fertility better. On poorer soil it is more of a level playing field. Once they are established if properly managed they can be left to grow out over the summer and then cut down in early autumn. This reduces considerably the management time. The flowers are attractive and beneficial to butterflies and Bees etc, and bring more of them to your garden over the summer.

 

If you wanted to introduce an area of Meadow Flowers into your garden, then follow these simple rules.

  • Sow a mixture that is largely perennial flowers. You cut these down then they grow back each year.
  • Sow them with some grass or into grass if it is poor and has been ideally thinned out.
  • Sow in an area you are happy to grow wild (they are called wildflowers for a reason!)
  • The meadow may take a couple of years to get going so be prepared to be patient.
  • Once established leave to grow out over the summer and enjoy.

 

If you would like any more information on Meadow Flowers, then please contact Tim Evans on Freephone 0800 0854399 or by email shop@meadowmania.co.uk


Annuals, Biennials & Perennials Wild Flowers

Posted on February 28, 2018

Wild Flowers fall into three main categories Annuals, Biennials and Perennials; it is important to understand them if you want to make sure you get the best out of them.

Annuals

Cornfield annuals Cornfield annuals

These are species such as Field Poppy, Cornflower, Corn Marigold. They tend to be very colourful and quick to grow.

Annuals will only last one year they multiply by growing fast shedding seed and the seed then grows the following year. For them to grow again there must be some bare soil that the seed can germinate and grow in. Historically the main annual wild flowers appeared in Arable Fields each year after the farmer ploughed the field. This is why they are sometimes called cornfield annuals.

They are often sown with a perennial meadow mix to give some impact in the first year. It is important to understand that with this approach Annuals are unlikely to appear from the second year as the meadow will smother them out.

Biennials

Teasel Teasel Biennials

These are Wild Flower species such as Wild Carrot. Wild Foxglove, Teasel, and Dark Mullein.

A biennial plant takes two years to complete it's life cycle. It will germinate and grow, survive through one winter, and in the second year it will grow more, bloom, and then may die.

You may not see them in the first year then it can look like there is a mass of them in the second year then they may die out. If you want to see the species, such as Teasel, every year then sow seed for two consecutive years. The species may self seed and you will then see them every year.

 

 

 

 

Perennials

Meadow Buttercup Meadow Buttercup Perennials

This is the widest range of wild flower species. They include such things as Buttercups, Daisies, Campion, Scabious and many more.

Perennial wild flowers take longer to establish, you may not see them in flower until the second year. But once they are established they come back year after year. Generally they are not as colourful or as striking as the annuals. Their natural habitat is amongst grass and perennial wild flowers work best when you have a range of them with grass as the back drop.

The aim is to have different ones in flower in different months. Normally you would cut the meadow down towards the end of the summer. End of August/early September. Then the grass and perennial wild flowers grow back.

 

If you are unsure about this then please feel free to contact Tim Evans for more advice by email at shop@meadowmania.co.uk or by Freephone 0800 0854399

 


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