One man went to mow!
Native English meadows have been on the decline over the past 100 years and sadly 90% have been replaced by monoculture. This has had a drastic impact on wildlife, insects and our precious honey bees. There are great organisations like http://www.plantlife.org.uk who are fundraising and creating as many wild spaces as they can.
Not everyone has acres of land to turn into species rich flora but that doesn’t matter, if you have a grass verge, lawn, a messy bit of garden these all can be turned into mini-meadows and it is incredible how fast insects will come buzzing around once they have grown.
So for this blog I am writing how to create these little pockets of ‘life’ in your garden, not the large scale meadows which involves big equipment and much preparation.
Making a mini-meadow
Meadows like full sun but can cope with dappled shade ie, under fruit trees. Mini meadows look good as swathes in lawns or around shrubs and trees.
There are two ways to produce a meadow ,sowing meadow seed, or rolling out pre- grown meadow turf the preparation for both is the same. What you want is weed free bare earth, so if you replacing part of your lawn with meadow you will have to strip it first with a spade or turf cutter. Often lawn will grow back so be sure to dig up the roots of the existing lawn as they will compete with the flowers which are in the meadow. The soil then has to be raked to a tilth it doesn’t have to be completely flat as meadows don’t mind a bit of bumpy ground. Once this is done you can either sow your seed or roll out the meadow turf.
Seeding a Mini Meadow
To seed a meadow go very sparingly 4grams/sq metre. I weigh out what I need then mix it with sand in a trug, the sand, enables you to see where you have spread it. Always sow on a still day as the seed could end up in your neighbour’s garden.
Using pre grown meadow turf
To use pre grown meadow turf simply roll out the turf and firm down gently with the back of a rake. I am an accredited installer of meadow turf and I use this company as the quality is excellenthttp://www.wildflowerturf.co.uk. Using this method is a lot more expensive than using seed but it does give great results. Be sure to keep the meadow watered in the early stages of growth and in any pro-longed dry spells.
Towards the end of August, when the flowers have dried out and it’s all looking a bit straw like, the meadow will need to be cut you can do this with a traditional scythe or strimmer. Cut in long strokes and leave the cuttings where they are for 2 weeks to allow seeds to drop and then re-establish themselves. The meadow can then be cleared and cut with a lawn mower on high setting. Keep the meadow trimmed through Autumn and then the whole magical process will start again in Spring.
I install and advise on Meadows throughout Sussex, Surrey and Kent