Sowing a Wildflower Meadow – The Latest Update

In 2015, I organised a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a new wildflower meadow. It was fairly successful and I got just shy of £500 and our generous seeds supplier through in some extra too. We sowed the start of the field in late spring but, alas, there was hardly any rain. The field had also previously been used for oilseed rape, and because it hadn’t been ploughed since, there was A LOT of self-sown crop. The heavy clay soil was undulating, there was a gargantuan flock of wood pigeons ready for a snack and, because it was an arable field before, there was no grass. This could be a good thing to prevent wildflowers being strangled out; however, it also means everything looks rather bare. So, as you can see, the wildflower meadow was being started in far from optimal conditions.

We weren't counting on self-sown oil seed rape having started.

We weren’t counting on self-sown oil seed rape having started.

I returned to the site in the autumn full of expectation to see a glorious field. I was met with vast disappointment; the oilseed rape stems had dried into a sea of brown husks and there seemed to be little in the way of flowers. As our little group scythed our way across the field, we found very little aside the odd poppy. Still, scything done, there was hope because we’d sown a lot of perennial flowers; things that wouldn’t have bloomed in their first year.

Work starts on scything, strimming and raking

Work starts on scything, strimming and raking

Upon returning last week to put up the first nest box for my owl campaign, I’m delighted to say that things are moving in a positive direction! At first glance it still looks a little bleak; it’s patchy because of the lack of grass and there’s not a huge amount growing. But, upon closer inspection, there’s actually quite a lot going on. A couple of poppies have already appeared, white campion has started to flower, ox-eye daisies, plantain and mallow are also growing everywhere. The time for full wildflower meadow magnificence hasn’t actually arrived yet – that’ll be in June and July, so I’m thrilled to see this conservation plan finally starting to show gorgeous fruition.

At first sight, it’s patchy and there’s a not a flower to be seen…

But…things are starting to grow. Here, a poppy shows itself to the sun.


speedwell begins to clamber across the baked clay soil

plantain bursts with its little carousel of anthers


Anther poppy hides amongst the leaves.


White campion rises above much of the other growth

To see so much initial growth has really encouraged me, especially as the field is only set to improve over the coming years. I recorded a short Brimwood Farm tour for the YouTube channel too, and if you skip forwards to about the 1 minute mark, you can see the field for yourself!

The next trip to Brimwood will be in mid-summer, so I hope to bring you even more beautiful wildflowers as the field really begins to shine.

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.