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Gardens for Nature & You
Jody’s Garden Services
Just leaving your lawn to grow and turn to seed isn’t the best way to create a Wildflower Meadow; you will just end up with a lot of flowering Couch Grass.
A better way would be to make pockets within an existing lawn (mown first) and plant or sow wildflower plugs and the finer grasses. The dominance of an existing lawn can smother the wildflowers and prevent successive yields but sowing Yellow Rattle in August can help weaken lawn grass.
Ensure the wildflowers and grasses set seed before cutting and then leave for a few days to dry and for the seeds to settle on the ground, before raking off the cut grass.
Ideally, for a perfect wildflower meadow, it is best to skim off the whole lawn and then sow seed and plant plugs of the wild flowers and grasses. Pre-sown mats of various types of meadow are available for that instant effect.
Examples of design features and ideas, including two ponds and varieties of plants, insect home sculptures and mammal homes which you can add to your garden to attract even more wildlife.
For more tips of what to do in your garden this month, see the Gardening Diary.
A Wildflower Meadow can be created from a spare area of garden or lawn, but a Wildlife Garden needs to be planned and landscaped with local wildlife, and how it will fit in with the rest of your garden, in mind. The more space you can give over to a wildlife section, the more interest you can create.
Ideally it will include a pond, however small or large you can make it. Just a small prefabricated pool liner from the local garden centre will encourage frogs and damsel flies to visit. A pool created in Autumn could well have frog spawn growing in it the following Spring. An area of bog garden with marginal plants such as Ragged Robin, Meadowsweet and yellow flag can be very colourful.
Remember to create various habitats for larger animals; at the bottom of a large garden, a mammal house will entice a fox or badger to take up residence. Log and stone piles will quite quickly house lizards, frogs and toads in the cool interior spaces.
For expert advice, ask Jody to give you helpful tips on how to add features which will suit your specific garden.