Monday, 26 September 2011

wild flower seeds vs wild flower mat - 6 months on

Goodness, doesn't time fly, I can hardly believe it was almost six months ago that I first installed my 6m2 of Meadowmat and sowed some wild flower seeds so that I could compare the two methods of creating a wild flower meadow.

Steven Brown from Beescapes joined my green roofing course a couple of weeks ago.  His company specialises in encouraging landowners to establish large scale wild flower meadows to support bees.  Steve was telling me how they work on a five year timescale - ie it takes five years from sowing seedsuntil the meadow is really flourishing and I can see how that makes sense.

yellow rattle (aka hay rattle) flowering soon after
my meadowmat was installed
So in my garden, the Meadowmat was installed in April, allowed to grow on until the end of July, producing a few flowers and lots of grass in that time, cut for hay in July and has since been mown really short.  Today, there are clearly visible clovers, plantains, oxeye daisies, yarrow, vetch and several seedlings that are too small to identify.  Through the growing season I also had a lovely flush of yellow rattle which died back after seeding.  Plenty of insects, spiders and birds have visited and even though it wasn't as floral as I imagined it would be, I have every reason to believe that next year the grasses will be weaker and the flowering plants more prolific.

The wild flower seeds, were sown in April, weeded in April, May, June, July and September, have produced no flowers whatsoever (apart from the sunflowers that had seeded themselves from the previous year) and I can see 6 nice strong yarrow plants, 4 plantains and a couple of strangers that I can't identify yet.  BUT, I do know that many of our native species need a cold spell before the seeds can germinate, so my hopes are set on next spring bringing forward a nice crop of flowering plants.

To see how easy it is to install MeadowMat, take a look at our video
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