Wild flower meadows are extraordinarily beautiful and teeming with wildlife: spiders spinning webs, caterpillars munching leaves, butterflies and moths supping nectar, all sorts of bees gathering pollen, birds foraging for insects and seeds and small mammals searching for food. Such meadows are usually created by a particular pattern of mowing and grazing. Cattle graze in the winter, then, in spring, the plants are allowed to grow, flower and set seed. In June the meadow is cut for hay.
Nowadays wild flower meadows are extremely rare – we have lost 95% in the last 50 years. Planting one in your garden will really help local wildlife.
Make the most of your garden
- Cordon off a sunny area of lawn and don’t mow it. If your lawn is weedy, some wild flowers will thrive. But for a true wild flower meadow you must have poor soil. Most gardens have too many nutrients, and you may need to remove some topsoil.
- Mow a winding grass path to allow access to the meadow and other parts of the garden.
- Remove all clippings and never add fertiliser to your wild flower meadow.
In a long-established meadow, there may be up to 30 different plant species in one square metre.