By reducing the amount of cutting in spring and summer, garden lawns can easily be converted into a spectacular display of pretty low-growing wildflowers. By introducing nectar and pollen rich native species, wildflower lawns provide a valuable habitat and food source for visiting Butterflies and Bees. Over the years many customers have asked us for advice about how to turn a lawn into a wildflower meadow and broadly speaking there are 2 completely different approaches. Read more
Clay is a very common soil type and we are frequently asked which wildflowers will grow best on this type of soil. Clay soils are characterized by frequent water-logging in winter, and drying out in summer. In very dry weather clay soils will often bake and start to crack near the surface. Clay soils are usually hard to work and will stick to the soles of boots and other digging equipment.
Suitable Wildflowers for clay soils
Wildflowers that grow well on clay need to be tough and adaptable to the extreme conditions. Fortunately there are many native species available that meet these requirements and some popular wildflowers for clay include Lesser Knapweed, Oxeye Daisies, Birdsfoot trefoil, Cowslips, Meadow Buttercup, Yellow Rattle, Sorrel and Great Burnet.
A more comprehensive list of wildflowers for clay can be found by visiting our homepage and entering the word “clay” into the search box at the top left of the screen. You will be presented with a list of suitable products, including many species that can be purchased through our website as individual wildflowers seeds.
Both mixtures contain an optimum of around 14 individual wildflower species. This is a well proven balance and has been carefully formulated to give best chances of success based on years of experience. Once established, mixtures will provide a spectacular display of perennial wildflowers every summer. If you would like to add instant color in the first season then it will be necessary to sow a crop of cornfield annual wildflowers as a nurse crop to the perennial mixture. For further information on how this may be achieved please click here.
Typically bitterly cold and wet with the strong possibility of snow and ice, February is the month that sees the first catkins begin to appear on Hazel, Goat willow and Alder trees. Look out for the first signs of spring with Celandines, Primroses, Sweet Violets, Snowdrops and Aconites appearing in woodlands and hedgerows. Read more
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.
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.
Snowdrops in the green are supplied in early spring immediately after they have flowered. At this time they can be lifted and replanted successfully. This is generally a very successful, quick and easy way of establishing snowdrops and flowering can be expected the following seasons. Read more
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.
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.
In this article we describe how to plant a wildflower meadow using 3 different methods.
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.
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