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September 2005

Planting the Wildflower Turf

By Heather 14 years ago

Wildflower Turf

By Heather 14 years ago

On the other half of our new meadow we are laying our latest product - Wildflower Turf. You may have seen Monty and the whole Gardeners World Team laying 12 metres of it on Gardeners World in September. Incidentally someone has written that they thought it was expensive in this weeks Radio Times, well all things are relative in my opinion. For example seeding the area is a fraction of the cost of turfing it, but on the other hand if you were to plant all the individual plants as plugs then that would be more expensive than turfing the area. Its horses for courses, turfing is so easy and so quick, and so....instant, I think its fantastic. In our area we will add some plugs of our favourite plants which aren't in the turf mix. At Berryfields on BBC Gardeners World they have planted lots of bulbs underneath, which not only will give early colour but will be a great Spring nectar source for Queen Bumblebees out of hibernation.
Laying the turf is easy, lay it staggered (like bricks) so that there are no visible lines and fold the edges into each other so that they butt up, not overlap and thats about it, except to make sure you water well.
The Wildflower Turf is completely sustainable, not only is it soiless so there is no damage to the fields but also the farmer has a system to recycle all the water run-off and reuse it.
This product has been used in a commercial setting for a couple of years now, motorway banks etc and we've now made it available in tiny quantities. We've used 12 rolls here at Blakemere and I'll update you on which side of the Wildflower Meadow is doing what and when here on this blog.

Using Yellow Rattle in our Wildflower Meadow

By Heather 14 years ago


Yellow Rattle is semi-parasitic, its roots tapping into those of surrounding grasses for nutrients. This suppresses the grass, making more room for the Yellow Rattle and the other wildflowers in your garden. The ideal time to sow this is the autumn, because it needs about 3 months of cold temperatures after sowing to help germination. We've mixed ours in with the seed, but if you have an existing meadow its worth sprinkling yellow rattle over it once you've cut it to help ensure the stronger grasses dont take over.

We spread our Wildflower mix at 2g per square metre and over this area we spread 3g of yellow rattle. Honestly you dont need three people for this task, they must have wanted to be in the photo!
We finished off by raking and watered the whole area thoroughly, although there was no need as in Lower Blakemere today its bucketing down.....ah well should make the seed grow.

We're making a new Wildflower Meadow

By Heather 14 years ago



Once upon a time this section of the garden was our chicken run. We ate eggs everyday from the bantams and hens and all was very well. In fact all was so well that we had two births, - two lovely little chicks. And then one day......guess what happened, you've got it - The Big Bad Fox broke through the fence and destroyed them all, - except two that went to live at Jodie's. So the result of this sorry tale is a spare bit of grassy area which we would like to be a little more productive, and to us that is trying to encourage more wildlife (except perhaps Basil Brush).
So Phil the Gardener has started by clearing the ground and putting the rotavator over it. If you are clearing grassland you could spray or better still put some polythene over the top of it for a few weeks and then fork or rotavate over until the tilth is pretty fine. Wildflowers dont need much food so there's no need to add compost. We've decided to seed one half with our Wildflower Mix and add some Yellow Rattle, and on the other half we are going to take the easy option and lay Wildflower Turf.
The easiest way to sow the seed is to mix it with some sand, that way you get an even coverage. We've added our yellow rattle seed in with the mix but you can spread this usefully just about anywhere. Not only will the yellow rattle look good and the seed pods really do rattle but it also helps your wildflower meadow establish by detering grasses and allowing your flowers to get established!
What about the egg supply though? Well we will go back to egg production one day, once we have built Fort Knox in the PondField, and in the meantime Jodie and Alison keep us well supplied, and the taste of fresh "proper" free range eggs is something else.