‘Going Wild about Flowers!’
Plantlife, Europe’s largest charity dedicated to wild flowers and other flora recently launched the interactive Great British Wild Flower Hunt. This was in response to new research that reveals people across Great Britain are crying out to know more about wildflowers and get closer to nature.
The Hunt, which continues throughout the summer, is the UK’s first large-scale interactive guide to wild flowers. It offers everyone the opportunity to have fun and boost their botanical knowledge like never before.
Pavements, Hedgerows & Roadsides
Dr Trevor Dines, Plantlife Botanical Specialist, said: “White, yellow, pink, blue… wild flowers appear in the cracks in the pavement, under hedgerows and by our roadsides. But what are their names? It’s exciting to know that people have told us they want to know more about the ‘extraordinary ordinary’ pop of colour in a normal day – particularly over half the 16-24 year olds we polled.”
The Great British Wildflower Hunt gives you the facts and folklore in an easy, fun way, and you can share information on social media and find out what other people have found in your area. You can join The Great British Wild Flower Hunt at http://www.plantlife.org.uk/wildflowerhunt
Where you can find Wildflowers
If you want to know where to find wildflowers in Oxfordshire, an ideal place to begin is the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust website. If you are looking for somewhere full of picturesque grasses and wildflowers, then Blenheim Farm is your ideal location! Surrounded by hedgerows and scrubby woodland this area near Charlbury also has a variety of songbirds including blackcap’s and chiffchaff’s.
Its grasses and flowers include cowslips, lady’s bedstraw and common knapweed – all species which are typical of alkaline to neutral soils. The old hedges contain a variety of species including field maple, crab apple, dogwood and spindle, while a new pond has added diversity and interest. www.bbowt.org.uk/wildlife/wildlife-advice/wild-info-wildflower-meadows
Planted as a Meadow
You don’t have to venture outside your own garden, however, to appreciate the benefits of wildflowers. When planted as a meadow, they not only create an attractive area and habitat for wildlife, they also enhance the landscape – just enjoying them in your garden can produce a great feeling of well-being.
The best way to create an instant meadow in your garden is to use specially cultivated wildflower turf or pre-seeded soil. These have been developed to ensure they provide a balanced mix of species strong enough to outwit common weeds and the British climate.
Another advantage of wildflower meadows is that they are really easy to maintain. Part of the attraction of perennial wildflowers is that they grow well in poor soil and, once established, are quite hardy and will survive in most conditions.
Fun in the Planning
Like any aspect of your garden, wildflower meadows are great fun to plan as there are hundreds of different species of native British wild flowers to choose from. At the end of the Autumn season, you can start planning for next year’s colourful display.
The key question is to establish which type of meadow area suits your garden. Essentially, your choice boils down to annual or perennial meadows. Both meadow types can be grown from mixed wild flower seeds and from wildflower plug plants, although it will be less expensive to use seeds for annual meadows or for large areas.
Annual Wildflower Meadows
Annual wild flowers bloom in their first season, producing a bright show of colour from early Summer onwards before dying and setting seed in late Summer or Autumn. Annual wildflower seeds such as cornflowers, poppies and corn cockle look very effective when scattered to create a colourful meadow or when planted as part of a large border.
Grasses & Flowers
Perennial wild flower meadows are more typical across the UK as they consist of both grasses and flowers. In open areas of your garden, you could choose perennials such as ox-eye daisies, ragged robin and red campion. For areas that are often in shade, choose woodland wildflowers such as primroses, wood anemones and bluebells which can be grown from seed or planted ‘in the green’.
When choosing perennial wild flower seeds make sure that you are not just concentrating on Summer-flowering varieties. For great colour during Spring, include seeds such as primroses, fritillary, cowslips, lady’s smock, bugle and self-heal.
At GreenArt Garden design and Landscaping, many of our projects now incorporate a wildflower meadow as more and more of us want to create an attractive habitat for local wildlife. So if you want to enjoy a wildflower meadow area in your garden, don’t delay!
Please contact Jo or George on 01491 280447 or email email@example.com