HOW DO YOU CREATE A WILDFLOWER MEADOW?
When you see the descriptions on the seed bags that you buy in the store, you can believe that it is not all that difficult. Just prepare the soil for sowing, rake the sand through it and wait for everything to bloom.
At De Cruydt-Hoeck they don’t necessarily want to make it more difficult than necessary, but for a successful perennial flower meadow you may need just a little more. De Cruydt-Hoeck offers courses for gardeners and designers for a reason. They do this mainly because in practice things unfortunately (too) often go wrong without it being really necessary. To determine the right mixture and associated maintenance and/or processing, you need to ask yourself a number of questions beforehand. Together with the advisors of De Cruydt-Hoeck, the right mixtures are selected and you can get ‘help’ with the management.
WHAT KIND OF LAND DO YOU HAVE?
Do you garden on clay, sand, loam or a combination thereof. Is the soil nutrient-rich or not? Is the soil well-drained, dry or wet and is the plot always in the sun, or also in the shade for part of the day? The presence of stubborn root weeds also plays a role. As with perennials and shrubs, all these factors influence the growth and flowering effect of the selected seed types.
WHAT KIND OF FLOWER MEADOW DO YOU WANT?
It is not the case that you can choose a flower meadow mixture that you never have to do anything about. An annual flower meadow is perhaps the most sparkling, but it also needs soil preparation and new sowing every year. There are also flower meadow mixes that can last a few years without much extra work and a perennial grassland will last for many years without much maintenance. If you want a flower mixture for under vegetation near trees or on a roof, this also has consequences for the choice of the mixture.
WHEN DO YOU WANT A FLOWER MEADOW?
Simply because of the lush and flowery character or choose a flower meadow because you want to save time and money. Or do you want to improve the biodiversity in your garden and/or living environment.
If you just want to experiment with a wildflower mixture in one part of the garden, don’t forget to ignore all the above questions. But as soon as you seriously and on a larger scale want to work on a flower meadow, some deepening is advisable!
WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF A FLOWER MEADOW?
A well-functioning flower meadow is one of the cheapest forms of greenery management. With construction, aftercare and maintenance even a lot cheaper than lawn. Sometimes a little patience is needed to develop a sustainable flower meadow. Wildflower seeds often require specific conditions to germinate. Some species only germinate after 1 year.
WHICH FLOWER MIXTURES CAN YOU CHOOSE FROM?
The flower mixtures are divided into main groups:
Field flower mixture
- Annual species
- Very flowery, lots of color
- Need sun
- Continue and re-seed every year
- Fast effect, in temporary situations
- Nutrient-rich for butterflies, bees and insects
- Annual and biennial and short-lived perennials
- Very flowery, lots of color
- Need sun
- Loosening soil every 3 to 4 years
- Suitable for temporary nature
- Can be used on very nutrient-rich soil
Ruderal terrain is a biotope created by severe human disturbance due to the addition of material such as rubble or rocks with a large amount of nutrients.
Flowery grassland mixture
- Especially perennials that bloom modestly
- For sunny grasslands, orchards, roadsides
- Mow and dispose of once or twice a year
- Do not disturb ground
- Attractive to bees, butterflies, insects
- Very durable only on poor soil
Mixtures for undergrowth
- Mainly perennial varieties with modest flowering
- Can be grown on poor and rich, dry or lush soil
- Mow once every 2 years in September and October
- Do not disturb ground
- High ecological value, butterflies bees etc.
- In forest edge, shadow corners and under trees
- viz. perennials that bloom modestly
- In sun and partial shade
- For flat to pitched roofs
- As good as low maintenance
- On poor to moderately nutrient-rich soil
In addition to these broadly defined mixtures, De Cruydt-Hoeck also compiles special tailor-made mixtures. Special situations and/or specific color/type of wishes are assumed.
HOW BIG SHOULD MY GARDEN BE TO CREATE A FLOWER MEADOW?
The size of a garden doesn’t really matter at all. You can even sow an old mortar tub with a wildflower mixture. For nature lovers, every square meter more with bee, butterfly and insect attracting plants is an improvement. Unfortunately, too many gardens are still completely paved. The larger the flower meadow, the greater the effect of color and fragrance. In a small garden it is therefore wise to reinforce the sometimes limited amount of bloomers present in a mixture with ‘wild’ plants. These varieties give your mixture an extra boost. In particular, the decline is prevented and proportionally more flowers bloom per square metre.
HOW DO I CREATE A FLOWER MEADOW?
After choosing the right mixture, you have to get started with the soil. You cannot randomly scatter a seed mixture over existing vegetation. You have to make the ground ‘bare’. That means removing both the vegetation and the sod. Shearing with a spade is also possible, very superficial milling or hoeing and then raking is also an option. Stubborn root weeds such as scutes, common thistle and cultivated grass should also be pushed out as deeply as possible. Work the soil as little as possible. Digging is not necessary, in fact, it activates deeper weed seeds and nutrients. Digging is only necessary if the soil is too wet due to serious compaction.
If there are too many weed seeds in the soil, you have to let them come up a few more times and hoe the top layer in sunny weather so that they dry out. Especially mixtures with annual seeds (usually the most flowery ones) suffer a lot from the germinating existing weeds. Often they don’t even grow above that.
When the soil is bare and free of as many weeds as possible, you can start sowing. Rake in very carefully 2 to 3 cm maximum so that you do not activate the substrate during sowing. To better distribute the seed, it is best to first mix the seed in a bucket or wheelbarrow with sand. You will then see much better what you have done.
A wild flower mixture is best sown in late summer, but year-round is also no problem if the conditions are monitored. It should not be too dry when sprouting. By the way, not all seeds hatch at the same time and not all of them by definition. Some seeds germinate after a year.