Wild flower meadows abound for the New Year
I don’t know whether it was a general lust for gardening ease, the London Olympic Park or Sarah Raven’s Bees, Butterflies and Blooms BBC show last year, but wildflower meadows have become very stylish. Looking ahead to the growing season in 2013, it seems as if a lot of people are planning on attempting to grow their own wildflower meadows this year. And, I have to admit, I’m one of those souls. I grew up in the countryside and was surrounded by wildflower meadows in their true sense, and these beautiful planting schemes bring a welcome nostalgia for me.
But, why plant a wildlfower meadow?
There are numerous reasons why you might want to plant a wildflower meadow, but several key reasons stick out in my mind. For one, planting a patch of wild flowers is incredibly simple, and once you’ve sown the seeds and given them a water to ensure that germination occurs, you pretty much don’t have to do anything else for the rest of the year. A light strim after the main flowering season is all that you’ll need to keep your patch under control, and though you’ll have to re-plant if you’re using annual varieties, if you plant a perennial patch, you’ll very rarely have to do much after the first year.
Cost is also another important point, and we’re still all trying to save thanks to our gloriously awful economy. Spending £40 or £50 on wildflower seed may seem rather exorbitant, but how much do you spend on other seeds every year? Plants from the nursery? New tools because you’ve left your old ones out in the rain and they’ve rusted away? It might be a slightly more costly initial approach, but you’ll save a lot of time and money in the long run.
Beauty is, of course, another reason for establishing a wildflower meadow and there’s something wonderful about just throwing some seeds down and allowing nature to do its thing. I don’t know about you, but I spent a huge amount of time in my garden every summer trying to get everything looking as lovely as possible. But there’s a natural beauty that comes with wildflowers, and will thrive with your neglect! We saw that at the Olympic Park in 2012, where huge swathes of wildflower patches were sown in time to be in decadent colour once the sporting events started.
And, of course, a matter that is close to my heart – wildlife. It remains a vital part of city life to create wildlife corridors for animals to move along. A wildflower patch, no matter how small, will offer a home for a multitude of insects. This will bring birds and amphibians to the patch too, and whether they set up residence or only pass through, your little meadow will become a vital resource.
I’m not going mad this year with acres of meadow, but am simply going to transform my front garden. It’s north facing and gets very little light, but luckily for me, there are wildflower mixes for shady patches too. It’ll be a great improvement on the raggedy grass that currently takes up the spot and doesn’t offer much for wildlife or the eye.
So, if you simply don’t know what to do with your garden this year, if you crave a simple and maintenance free patch for most of the year, if you want to get styling with your green fingers, sowing a little wildflower meadow this spring is the perfect solution.