Sunday, 27 May 2012

Meadowmat vs wild flower seeds 1 year on

Goodness! A whole year has passed since I installed 6m2 of Meadowmat at the bottom of my garden and sowed £10 worth of wildflower seeds at the other end of my plot. At the time, and for most of last summer, I rather favoured Meadowmat wild flower matting for biodiversity, for speed of establishment and for its weed suppressant properties.  So, after 12 months of growing, changing and observing which of the two plots is performing the best?

yellow rattle and red campion blooming in Meadowmat late May 2012
Biodiversity:  Meadowmat wins hands down.  The seeded plot is probably the most colourful at the moment, but that's because it is predominantly red and white campions and they are flowering their hearts out at the moment.  There is some yarrow in there, a stray dandelion (not from the seed's an imposter that escaped one of my many weeding sessions), there are a couple of plantains and a scarlet pimpernel.  On the other hand, the Meadowmat boasts red campion, ribwort plantain, sorrell, common vetch and yellow rattle in flower at the moment, with clover and oxeye daisy in bud and wild carrot, yarrow, grasses et al looking verdant and healthy and getting ready to flower later in the year.

wild flower patch grown from seed
Speed of Establishment:  1 year on, there isn't much difference in the percentage plant coverage although Meadowmat is probably thicker in the bottom and it's definitely secreting more minibeasts....spiders, flies, ladybirds etc. I think also, because they haven't been cut back or mown, the plants in the seeded area are bigger than the ones in Meadowmat.

Weed suppressing: so far I've not had to pull any weeds out of my Meadowmat patch but oh dear, last year I spent ages and ages on my knees removing thistles, groundsel, bindweed and all sorts of undesirables from the seeded area.

Overall;  Do you know, I think it was worth spending the extra money on Meadowmat compared to seeds..but that's just me.  With 2 grandchildren to entertain, 3 dogs to walk, a house to clean, a husband to cook, clean, shop and iron for - oh, and a job, I'm happy to dip into my pocket to save myself a bit of time (within limits of course), AND my Meadowmat generated 2 binbags worth of hay for Lily and Luna the guinea pigs plus a few bags of fresh greens for the tortoises. On the other hand, I do find weeding quite theraputic and the extra £50 could have bought enough petrol to keep the lawnmower and rotovator running for a year...
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