In February we wrote an article about growing wildflowers on clay. Clay soils often get very water logged in winter but what about areas prone to regular winter flooding that remain under water for long periods. Flood meadows have always played a part in flood alleviation and there are many benefits of growing specialist wildflowers for wet areas. As a scheme at Longford near Gloucester demonstrates, the restoration and creation of new wildflower water meadows can naturally enhance flood defense schemes as well as providing a valuable asset for the community and a haven for wildlife. Read more
When sowing a mixture of grass seed with wildflowers it is vital to select the correct type of grass seeds. Grasses should always consist of fine growing varieties such as bents and fescues. These generally fall into the category of “meadow grasses” and will provide a sward in which native wildflowers can establish and thrive successfully. Read more
With spring just round the corner, March is a month of great activity in the garden. An increase in the volume of birdsong is a sure sign that many of our resident birds are already busy defending territories and indeed nest building. Frogs, toads and newts will also be breeding now. Frogspawn will normally appear first, followed by toad spawn with newts normally laying their eggs last. In the Wildflower garden, yellow is the theme, with Wild daffodil, Primrose, Celandines and Bulbous Buttercup all flowering. Read more
Outside of gardens and wild areas there is an increasing use of wildflowers to landscape urban and suburban areas. Wildflowers provide a cost effective alternative to bedding plants and can be used to landscape parks, road verges, roundabouts, golf courses and green roofs. Mixtures often contain a blend of native and non-native species such as Californian Poppy. Read more
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.