Wild Meadow Seeds
In the Scottish Highlands our local council has given up on mowing the grass verges in the village, to save money. Instead the responsibility for keeping these areas tidy falls to the home owner or occupier. Most of our neighbours choose to mow regularly to keep a neat tidy green square of grass. I find this very boring and not wildlife friendly, so for the past few years I've sown wild flower seeds into our area to create a mixed meadow.
Although these areas are low maintenance compared to the neat grass squares they do require a few minutes of your time at the end of the summer to ensure they they grow beautifully again the following year.
Traditionally meadow flowers would have been grazed by sheep, cattle, horses, deer and other wild grazers.
Roadside verges and gardens don't get many of these visitors so require a little human intervention to mimic the grazing actions. Grazing actions trim back fresh growth and hoof action typically stirs up fresh soil. All of which makes the perfect setting for next years seeds.
At the start of Spring, typically March or April we give our meadow area a tight mow, this takes down any Winter growth and debris, allowing light and water into the new plants.
We then sit back and enjoy the meadow flowers bloom throughout the Spring and Summer. We have a beautiful colourful mix of thistle, yarrow, cow parsnip, corn flowers, candy tufts, corn cockles, foxgloves and tansy to name a few.
At the end of the summer the flower dry out and seed heads begin to emerge. I also find these very beautiful and interesting, so I leave them in place until they are thoroughly dry.
I then tight mow or strim back around the main plants, taking the growth as close to the soil as I can.
Once I've done this I go back and manually cut the seed heads and place them onto the exposed ground.
This takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
Some people like to dig out or scour patches of ground to help give the seeds some loose soil to settle into.
I'm a pretty lazy gardener and don't have much time for that, but fortunately I have a friendly mole who pushes up loose soil for me. These fresh mounds make great spots for wildflower seeds.
I'll leave this patch for a few weeks while the weather turns from Summer into Autumn. Then give it one last mow to take it through the Winter. Then the whole cycle will begin again next Spring.
Compared to other parts of the garden this is incredibly low maintenance and gives spectacular results. This meadow flowers are covered in bees and butterflies, and once the thistles begin to seed they become a favourite with the Goldfinches.
I'd love to see your photos of wild garden areas and the visitors you get there.