Have you heard of the lawn to meadow movement? The premise of this movement is to bring back biodiversity to areas where biodiversity has been squashed by the ever-popular grass lawn.
Of course, that's not to say that growing grass is a bad thing. It's just to say that the attention we've given to grass above all other plants may have made it more difficult for bees and other helpful (nay, crucial) pollinators to thrive.
Learning how to plant wildflowers in your own garden can make a huge difference in your community. By reintroducing a variety of pollinator-attracting flowers, you can create something beautiful and impactful.
A healthy wildflower garden starts with the proper seed mixture. What happens next is up to you. Read on to learn everything you need to know about planting wildflowers.
Preparing Your Wildflower Bed
Preparation is key to growing a successful wildflower bed. Select the location of your wildflower bed--somewhere that gets full or partial sunlight--and remove all excess vegetation. Whether you're sowing acres of wildflower meadows or a square metre of your yard, you won't want to skip these steps.
Get Rid of Weeds
One of the easiest ways to get rid of weeds in your wildflower bed is to practice solarisation. To do so, you're going to want to mow the area as close to the ground as possible. Then, water the area so that it is quite wet and cover it with plastic sheet (clear plastic works best) so that the sun can "bake" away vegetation below.
Alternatively, you can weed the area by hand. Even if you practice solarisation, you may have to do some additional hand-weeding to finish clearing the area.
Remember to clip and collect; in other words cut all the grass, weeds & overgrown plants, collect them up and take them away.
Till, Rake, and Level Your Soil
Once you have cleared the area of weeds and other vegetation, lightly till the soil. You don't want to turn up more than three inches of soil, as this can create an ideal environment for weeds to take over once again.
Next, use your rake to level the soil. Leaving some of the grooves from your rake in the dirt is fine, as this can help your seeds make contact with the soil and begin to take root.
Sowing Wildflower Seeds
It's important to exercise patience when preparing your wildflower bed, as you want to ensure that all weeds are wiped out. Once you trust that the area is clear of vegetation, you may sow your wildflower seeds.
When to Plant Wildflower Seeds: UK
In the UK, the most ideal time of year to plant your wildflower seeds is the early spring. That is, if you want to see your wildflowers sprout and bud more quickly! Spring sowing will ensure that you get the most summer flowering.
Another option is to sow seeds in late summer or autumn. Seeds that are sown in the fall will go dormant for the winter and sprout when the weather becomes warmer in the spring.
Spread Your Seeds Evenly and Rake Lightly
Because you're cultivating a meadow-like bed of wildflowers, you do not need to plant wildflower seeds in perfect rows or rely on plug plants. Instead, you want to sprinkle your seeds in an even layer throughout the prepared bed.
One method many gardeners use is mixing flower seeds with a bit of flour or sand. This makes it easier for you to see where your seeds have landed and ensure that you've spread them evenly.
Water Well and Use a Light Layer of Mulch
In order for your seeds to germinate and begin to grow, they need to remain moist. After planting, use your watering can or jug to water the bed thoroughly. Be careful not to wash away your seeds in the process.
If you're concerned about local fauna eating your seeds before they have a chance to grow, consider using a light layer of mulch. Straw, compost, and peat all work well for this. Not only will this layer protect your seeds from wildlife but it will also help to retain moisture.
How to Plant Wildflower Seed Bombs: Does It Work?
Wildflower seed bombs have grown in popularity over the years. Seed bombs are balls of dirt that have seeds mixed inside them. You can plant them directly in the ground.
Seed bombs are effective only if they are kept damp before planting. If they dry out, your seeds will not germinate properly. It's often easier and more successful to plant seeds by scattering them in the bed, as we've suggested earlier.
Maintaining Your Wildflower Garden: Bonus Tips
After a few weeks (assuming the weather is warm and the sun is shining), you'll begin to see the fruits of your labour. Wildflower seeds germinate within 10 to 21 days and your first blooms may appear in as little as five weeks. Let's take a look at how you can maintain your mostly-low maintenance annual wildflowers.
Water When Rainfall Is Low
We want our wildflower gardens to be as self-sufficient as possible. Most water for your wildflower garden should come from rainfall. If your area is going through a dry spell (which tends to occur primarily between February and March, when your wildflowers are dormant, anyways), make sure to water your wildflowers.
Mow When Your Wildflowers Go to Seed
How can you encourage your perennial wildflower garden to return next spring without requiring additional planting? In the late fall, mow your wildflower garden to a height between four and six inches. This will ensure that all seed heads will drop into the soil while keeping your sleeping yard tidy in the colder months.
Increase Biodiversity in Your Garden By Learning How to Plant Wildflowers
Now that you know how to plant wildflowers, you're ready to aid the biodiversity in your own yard. When you grow wildflowers, you beautify your neighbourhood while helping important pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, to thrive in the coming years.
Do you have questions about our seed mixtures? Are you looking for more creative ways to incorporate wildflowers into your yard? Contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
In the meantime, get started on your own wildflower garden with one of our bespoke wildflower seed mixtures. We're here to help you grow all sorts of wild flowers, from the yellow rattle to corn marigolds.