Ever wondered how to grow a wildflower? If you’ve heard about the various wildflower-planting movements that are gaining ground in the UK, you might be wondering what it’s all about and what’s in it for you.
Let me tell you there’s lots in it for you! You’ll be presented with beautiful flowers that will bring colour and life to your garden year after year. The kids will love helping you with the gardening, but the main reason for bringing wildflowers into your garden is for the environment.
They’re wild, but they still need TLC
Having a patch of wildflowers can bring life and wildness to a garden, but although they’re called WILDflowers, they still need some care to get started. You can’t just scatter the seeds and sit back.
You need to plan your wildflowers
You should take some time to decide what sort of wildflowers you want. You might want a random selection from here, or you might have some sort of order in mind. The location of the wildflower patch is important as well. They’ll probably need sun and they’ll need to be kept safe from children, dogs and other pets until they’re established.
Why plant wildflowers anyway?
The numbers of wildflowers in the UK are declining and this decline is closely related to the fall in the number of pollinating insects and other animals.
Wildflowers and pollinators depend upon each other and this symbiosis is essential to the food chain. As well as to the other animals that also depend on plants and food crops.
Many plants and flowers that we buy from garden centres have been cultivated specially to be low-maintenance. They’re not that great for insects and other small animals as a result.
What other benefits do wildflowers offer?
They look amazing for a start. Plus, once they’re established, they’re very tough and hardy and after a couple of years you don’t need to do much with them.
They bring a lot of wildlife into your garden, not just pollinating insects. They’re also good on the compost heap once they’re done for the year. Wildflowers also tend to have a more complex root system, which is great for maintaining soil quality and drainage.
Wildflower seeds are actually better off if you scatter them in an area of your lawn that tends to be dry and less fertile. Once they’ve decided to settle and flourish, you can leave it to them to provide colour and coverage so that your grass doesn’t have to.
These flowers probably won’t do much in the first year, unless you have some poppies or cornflowers. You will need to wait for another year or so, otherwise.
How to maintain them
Once your meadow is up-and-running, then you mustn’t cut the flowers until they’ve ripened and dropped seeds. Wait until August at the earliest before cutting them, then cut them again in October or November.
Variety really matters
Bring as many species of wildflower into your garden as possible, as this will encourage greater wildlife diversity, as well as more colours and sizes, which is one of the main reasons for planting them!