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. If you have a pond or bog garden then Marsh Marigold is a welcome addition. It can be grown in either shallow water or at the waters edge and its bright yellow flowers are guaranteed to brighten any pond at this time of year. In our hedgerows Blackthorn is the first native shrub to blossom, often in spectacular fashion. The blossom appears several weeks before the leaves and is easily identifiable by the small, white, densely packed flowers similar in appearance to, but generally whiter than Hawthorn blossom. However, the two should not normally be confused as the first Hawthorn blossom does not appear until early May. Blackthorn is often chosen by birds for nest building, its thorny twigs making an excellent defence against predators.
March and April are ideal months for sowing Wildflower meadows. By doing so, even in the smallest garden, you will be helping to restore a vital habitat on which many of our once common species of birds, butterflies and other insects depend.
Choose a site that has not been heavily fertilised (the best meadows will always be found on infertile soils). In readiness, clear all existing vegetation, dig over the area and rake thoroughly. Choose a perennial mixture containing Meadow grass and Native British Wildflowers that is well matched to the site and soil type and sow at 4 grams per sq metre. At the same time, consider sowing a mixture of Cornfield annuals at 2 g per sq metre. Cornfield annuals consist of colourful, quick growing species such as Corn poppy and Cornflower that are reminiscent of our old cornfields. They will give a fine display in the first summer following sowing and also act as a nurse crop to the slower growing perennials as they develop.
On average meadows take 2 or 3 seasons to establish, during which time it is imperative to keep the grasses under close control and we suggest cutting regularly to a height of around 4 inches. For quicker results, consider introducing the Wildflowers in the form of Plant Plugs rather than seed.
We offer a comprehensive range of Native British Wildflower seeds and mixtures on our website at www.wildflowersuk.com
Alternatively please feel free to contact us on 01452 311525 for information and advice regarding any of our products.