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Month: January 2016

Best soil for wildflowers ?

Q: What is the best soil for wildflowers?

A: By far the most important consideration when choosing a site for a wildflower meadow is soil fertility. If possible choose a site with generally poor quality soil. The best meadows can always be found on infertile soils. Wildflowers do not compete well with grasses and weeds both of which tend to be found and grow more strongly on soils rich in nutrients.

best soil for wildflowers
Wild Foxgloves

View our range of Wildflower Meadow Mixtures

Sowing annual wildflowers as a ‘nurse’ crop

Q: I understand it is advantageous to sow a Cornfield mixture at the same time as a perennial grass and wildflower mixture. How should this be done and what are the benefits?

A: This technique is known as ‘nursing’. Perennial wildflowers are generally slow to germinate and establish. By contrast cornfield annuals germinate and grow quickly. This can help to reduce the extent of weed invasion following sowing and leads to a good display of colour in the first season. It also means virtually no maintenance is required until after the annuals have flowered. Cornfield annuals can also have the benefit of helping to stabilize steep banks and preventing smaller seeds being washed away by surface water run off. Choose a mixture of cornfield annuals WITHOUT grasses if using as a nurse.

Free wildflower seeds 2016 winter offer

Free wildflower seeds

Free wildflower seeds
Cornfield mixture

This winter,  we will dispatch 10 grams  of free wildflower seeds with all orders received over £10 (ex. postage)  Offer applies to all orders received on or before 29.02.2016 and free seeds will be sent together with other  items ordered are soon as they are ready for dispatch.

Spring or autumn is the perfect time for sowing mixtures of Cornfield annuals. These quick and easy to grow seeds will normally be in full flower by June or July following an early spring sowing.

Each packet contains a mixture of annual wildflower seeds including Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold Corn Cockle, Corn Poppy  and Cornflower seeds and will produce a spectacular display of White, Red, Blue and Pink in early summer. In late summer the display will turn a beautiful golden-yellow as Corn Marigold begins to dominate. Corn field annuals will attract a wide range of insects such as Butterflies and Bees and after flowering the seed-heads will be visited by birds such as Goldfinches. Each packet contains enough seed to cover approximately 5 square metres.

Free Wildflower seeds 2016 offer
Cornfield annual seed mix in early summer

How to sow your free wildflower seeds

Unlike other wildflowers, cornfield annuals can be grown on rich fertile soils where they will normally grow more strongly and produce a better display. Seeds should be sown onto a carefully prepared, bare, weed-free seed bed in March or April. If possible choose a site in full sunlight and a light soil that is well drained. It is important to note that corn field annuals will not work if sown directly into established grass. Free sowing and maintenance instructions will also be dispatched with all orders.

To view our full range of Wildflower seeds, Meadow seed mixtures, Wildflower Plug plants and bulbs please click here.

 To download a copy of our online wildflower manual containing useful sowing tips for Cornfield annuals and other wildflowers please click here.

How to plant a Wildflower meadow

In this article we describe how to plant a wildflower meadow using 3 different methods.

How to plant a Wildflower meadow
Wildflowers in summer

When and how to plant a Wildflower meadow with a grass and wildflower mix

The most common method is to sow a mixture of wildflower seeds and meadow grass. This approach is generally used whenever it is possible to fully clear any existing vegetation and then prepare a bare weed -free seed bed. It is generally regarded as the most cost effective method  for medium sized areas and above. Browse our range of Wildflower and meadow grass mixtures

 When and how to plant a Wildflower meadow with a pure wildflower mix

When it is not possible to clear the existing vegetation it may be necessary to over-seed using pure wildflower seed. This method is generally less reliable and is only  appropriate for  low fertility sites that are already vegetated with fine growing meadow grasses and perhaps a few wildflowers. In any event the existing grass should always be cut very short before over-sowing with wildflower seed. To prevent the grasses from smothering emerging seedlings, regular cutting would then need to be maintained until the wildflowers have established. View our range of 100% Wildflower mixtures.

When and how to plant a Wildflower meadow with wildflower plug plants

A third alternative is the introduction of wildflower plant plugs. This approach is usually more costly and labour intensive but has the advantage of giving any  wildflowers a head start and can offer quicker, more reliable results. This method is generally more suitable for smaller areas such as mini- meadows or flowering lawns. It is also useful on soils with high fertility, where there maybe a lot of competition from other plants and weeds that can not be removed.

View our range of Wildflower Plug Plants and bulbs

The Wildflower Garden in January

wildflower garden
Traveller’s Joy or Old man’s beard

The Wildflower Garden in January

Although traditional gardeners often dread mid winter, a wildflower garden can be a place of fascination at this time of year. By early month it should already be possible to hear great tits singing. Their song, a repetitive and metallic “tea cher” “tea cher” is one of the first signs that spring is approaching. Read more