Welcome to our Don Valley Wildflower Care Guide
Deciding to grow wildflowers may be a first for many, so we've put together this comprehensive guide to assist you in achieving the best results in your wildflower garden.
Our aim is to ensure that your wildflowers flourish, and allow you to have all the necessary knowledge to help achieve great results.
While we're confident you'll find this guide informative, we acknowledge that your needs are unique. So, when you're ready for personalised advice, don't hesitate to give the team at Don Valley a call. We're here to find the perfect solution for you.
INTRODUCTION TO WILDFLOWERS
Essentially, wildflowers are native plants that grow and thrive in the wild, without human intervention.
Planting wildflowers in your garden can bring a lot of beauty and vibrancy to your space whilst also playing a crucial role in supporting local ecosystems and pollinators.
PROS OF GROWING WILDFLOWERS
Transform your outdoor space into a vibrant canvas of colours and shapes.
Once established, wildflowers generally require less upkeep compared to traditional gardens.
Invite bees, butterflies, and other pollinators into your garden, contributing to a healthier environment.
Support native wildlife by providing them with food and habitat.
Contribute to biodiversity conservation by growing plants naturally adapted to your region.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT WILDFLOWER SEEDS
It’s important to choose the right wildflower seeds for your climate and soil conditions. Wildflower seeds are an investment in the beauty and health of your garden. Our seed selection offers you a range of seeds to suit your local environment.
Once you've measured the area you intend to plant, a general rule of thumb is that sowing 100% wildflowers would require 3 grams/m2 and for a 80% grass/20% wildflower mix it would be 5 grams/m2.
OPTIMAL TIMING FOR PLANTING
Timing is important when it comes to successful wildflower planting. Wildflowers should ideally be sown in April/May or late August/early September, avoiding peak summer weather or the colder frosty winter months.
Ideally look for a weather window without heavy rain or extreme heat, as these conditions could hinder seed establishment.
PREPARING YOUR GROUND FOR WILDFLOWERS
The groundwork you lay determines the success of your wildflower patch. Just as with any DIY project, proper preparation is key.
The timing of planting matters; ideally, you want to avoid frost or extreme dryness. Spring and autumn are usually optimal, with rain aiding seed establishment before the challenges of summer heat or winter frost. Nevertheless, wildflowers can be sown year-round with consideration for weather conditions.
Step 1: Select the site
Choose a location that receives a good amount of sunlight, with well-drained soil. Wildflowers generally prefer soil that is not excessively wet or prone to waterlogging.
Step 2: Remove existing vegetation
Clear the area of existing grass, weeds, and other vegetation. You can do this by mowing, digging, or using an herbicide. If you choose to use an herbicide, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and consider using an environmentally friendly option.
Step 3 : Soil Testing
Test the soil to assess its pH and nutrient levels. Many wildflowers prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. Amend the soil as needed to achieve the desired pH level and fertility. Lime can be added to raise pH, while sulphur can lower it. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost, to improve soil structure and fertility.
Step 4: Till the Soil
Use a garden tiller or a spade to loosen the top few inches of soil. This helps create a suitable seedbed for the wildflowers. Remove any rocks or debris from the soil during this process.
Step 5:Rake the Soil
After tilling, rake the soil to create a smooth and level surface. This will make it easier to sow the wildflower seeds evenly.
Step 6: Seed Sowing
Sow the wildflower seeds according to the recommended seeding rate for the specific mix or species you've chosen. You can mix the seeds with fine sand or vermiculite to help distribute them more evenly.
For smaller seeds, lightly rake them into the soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Larger seeds can be pressed into the soil with a board or roller.
Step 7: Watering
Water the seeded area gently but thoroughly immediately after planting to settle the seeds into the soil. Use a fine mist or a soaker hose to avoid washing the seeds away.
Step 8: Maintenance
Monitor the area regularly for weeds and remove them promptly, as they can compete with the wildflowers for nutrients and space. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged until the wildflowers are established. After that, many native wildflowers are drought-tolerant and may not require frequent watering.
We recommend cutting your established wildflower area down to approximately 15 cm, three key times per year:
- May/June (early Summer)
- August (late Summer)
- Late September/October
On the final cut of the season, you could choose to mow the meadow fully back, so it looks neat through the winter, just be sure to remove any cuttings to reduce soil fertility.
While wildflowers are low maintenance, they do require a bit of support in the initial stages to ensure weeds don’t over power them. Just routinely remove any nettles, docks and thistles before they set seed to ensure your seedlings thrive in peace instead.
HOW TO CUT WILDFLOWER MEADOWS
The easiest way to trim your meadows down to size is with a strimmer if it’s not too large an area. Be sure to check the area for wildlife such as hedgehogs that could be hiding away.
At the end of the season, you could use a lawn mower once you’ve cut it down to a manageable size
We hope this Wildflower Care Guide equips you with the knowledge to create a thriving wildflower garden.
Feel free to get in touch with us for guidance or to discuss seed blends, as we have several standard mixes or we can make bespoke mixes for specific projects or requirements.