Sowing Specification for all Seed Mixtures:
Remove existing vegetation:
When sowing seed, it is best to start a wildflower meadow
with a clean weed free soil.
Create a firm, fine tilt on seed bed.
Optimum Sowing Time: Mid February to end of May, June if its been raining or rain is due.
Mid August to Early October
Generally sow Anytime, except if 'winter frozen' or 'summer drought'
Roll the soil firm, sow seed, and roll or rake into surface to keep out of reach from birds.
By hand (00.0015 KG or 1.5 grams = 1 level teaspoon) per square metre
If using seed spreaders, add small quantities at one time, be careful to insure the small varieties of seed do not drop to the bottom of the seed spreader and get sown all in the one place.
In normal conditions (mainly in early Autumn and Spring) a meadow should germinate 3 - 8 weeks after sowing, from then on, provided the sward is kept open and a
'Thatch' is not
allowed develop, species will continue to germinate and emerge, through to the third year.
First Year with Annuals:
If annuals are supplied with you wildflower seed mixture, it will flower profusely, provided it was sown before June. This mixture requires one cut when finished flowering.
First Year 'without' Annuals, but with Grass: If without annuals but with grasses a wildflower mixture will not flower. A W/F mixture requires one to three cuts, to 8 -15cm in the
In the second year the biennials will also be very colourful.
If this mixture was not cut in first year, cut and remove foliage in early Spring. Cut again in July, August or September, depending on when flower finish or the level of weeds that emerge.
Second Year with Grass: If sown with grasses a wildflower mixture will require one to three cuts in the second year, cut to 8 -15cm.
In the third year:
The perennial species are still young, many will only have germinated in the second season, so flowers will be sparse. However, there should be identifiable foliage and some flowers.
If the native grass seeds present in your soil grow vigorously, the meadow will require two or three cuts, the first cut in Spring (April/May) and the second cut in July or August, the meadow can again be cut in September if the grasses are still
When should this meadow be established and require one cut?
In the fourth year, when the perennials in the mixture should be flowering well and starting to clump and spread, again if the grass is still vigorous cut in spring and in August of the fourth year.
If the perennials are growing
strong there will be no need to cut until July, August or September depending on the fertility and wetness of the soil and the species which have grown.
A wildflower meadow should last many years, provided the wildflower species were correctly established, weeds were controlled and the meadow was cut and the cut material removed and occasional
'Gaps' are created.
Persistence if unmanaged:
Tolerance of Cutting: High after third year.
General Cutting Time: Mid to end of Summer and again in early spring.
Wait 3 weeks until after the last flush of flowers fade away, after seeds set.
Disposal of cut materials:
Always remove the cuttings, wildflower meadow hay should be removed as soon as possible and not be heaped on site as it will grow mouldy (a health risk). Meadow
cuttings can be spread as compost in sheet mulches around trees and shrubs or composted.
Control grasses and weeds until well established. Accept any normal non-invasive weeds as they provide cover, once the sward is established, digging, spot spraying or weed wiping
can be used to eliminate problem species. Control weeds, especially Creeping Buttercup and White Clover, if present cut this meadow in May in year two.
In the third year, maintain this meadow for Scutch grass, creeping thistle, nettle and dock as they will try to dominate as the growing conditions are ideal for such unwanted species.
Buying the right type of wildflower seed mix for your soil.
Check with your wildflower mixture, as many wild seed mixtures are designed to grow in different soils or climate types. There are many mixtures, most contain a few similar native species, its the difference that matters, for your site.
Identify which meadow seed mixture suits your soil, insure the wild seed mix is suitable for low maintenance, as there are high maintenance meadow mixtures such as short wildflower mixtures mixed with grasses, these require regular mowing
Growing wildflowers on a farm is different to a garden, gardeners want well behaved colourful native wildflowers whilst on a farm, low maintenance and hardiness is the key.
Gardeners can buy native wildflower seed mixtures and plants from a garden center or nursery, whilst landowners are better buying direct from the grower such as Design By Nature, we sell wildflower seed by mail order.
If buying wildflower plugs or plants, check to see if they are native origin.
It is illegal to dig any wildflower in the wild, especially protected wild native species.
Native versus Non native Wildflowers:
As Irelands wild flora is similar to Britain's, seed mixtures sold in one country will grow in another, however the composition of mixtures will be different, so to will the advice given and the amount of grass to sow with wildflower seed, if any.
Imported 'advice' or 'wildflower information' may not suit your Irish wildflower mixture, wildflower growing advice can very, as in the UK they tend to grow more grass with there wild flowers and in Ireland we tend to want less
Many botanists say we shouldn't, grow wildflowers at all, especially those that are not native, because we interfere with nature. All botanists agree that sowing species which are native but from abroad will endanger the local genotype of a plant.
Non native species are not recommended for sowing in the wild or where they may spread and become wild and cross pollinate with local species,
In Ireland we have less wildflowers than the entire flora of Scotland, England and Wales, however we have a unique part of the total European flora, as the flora of this Island is able to grow in our often windswept, peat rich, moist acid soils.