A meadow is a mixture of soft grasses and wildflowers, which are unmown, although they may be grazed and cut for hay in late summer. Recently, many more organisations and individuals have been converting traditional mown grassy areas into flower-rich meadows. Here’s a quick look at why and how they are created.
Wildflower meadows do not merely support grasses and flowers, they also support a whole host of wildlife, such as bees, butterflies, beetles, spiders, crickets, and moths. This is important as the bee population in the UK is declining at an alarming rate, and they are essential for pollinating wildlife habitats.
It is not only insects that live in meadows, but the animals that eat these insects, including bats, hedgehogs, and birds. It is estimated that up to 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost over the last 90 years, according to Plantlife.
A lot of this loss has been down to land development and changes in farming methods, but it is also caused by the change to more ornamental gardens, that contain non-pollinator friendly flowers and cultivated lawns, rather than herbs and vegetable and fruit crops.
Creating a wildflower meadow doesn’t need to be done on a large scale. To create a wilder area in your own garden, do a final cut of the grass in late summer, and then sow the wildflower seeds by scattering them on bare patches of soil, or in rows in a seedbed, with a very thin covering of soil on top.
Other methods include planting plugs which can be bought at a garden centre, and planted in groups of three in divots in the earth. Alternatively, wildflower turf can be laid onto laid over raked bare soil and watered in well.
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