Sow a Flower Meadow

Romantic, colorful and easy to maintain, meadows are also perfect habitats for wildlife. The flowers and grasses will thrive on infertile soil in a sunny site, and they need just one cut each year after the plants have set seed.

Colorful Meadow Garden

Colorful Meadow Garden

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: Early autumn
At Its Best: Summer
Time to Complete: 8 hours

Materials Needed:

  • wildflower seed
  • horticultural sand
  • spade
  • wheelbarrow
  • bamboo canes
  • spring-tined rake
  • garden rake
  • string and bird-scarer, such as ribbons or old CDs

Mix Seed With Sand

To sow seed over a large area, first mix it with clean, dry horticultural sand. This helps spread the seed more evenly, and makes it obvious which areas you have already sown.

Remove a Layer of Topsoil

Topsoil is full of nutrients that encourage strong grasses to grow at the expense of delicate wildflowers. Use a spade and wheelbarrow to remove the top few inches, and recycle it elsewhere in the garden. Also remove any weeds and roots you find that could regrow and compete with the flowers.

Remove Topsoil Before Sowing Seed

Remove Topsoil Before Sowing Seed

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Prepare the Seedbed

Remove stones from the area and rake over the soil to break up the surface. Leave the site for two or three weeks, and then weed it again. To prevent the seeds from washing away, water the area before sowing, not afterward. Use canes to mark out the area into square yards, and sow each square with your batches of seed and sand mixture.

Using Canes to Mark Square Yards for Seeding

Using Canes to Mark Square Yards for Seeding

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

After Sowing

Use a spring-tined rake to lightly cover the seeds with soil after sowing. To avoid walking over sown areas, sow a small area at a time and then rake over it, before moving on to the next.

Cover the Seeds with Soil

Cover the Seeds with Soil

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Firm Soil Gently

Use the back of a garden rake to gently compact the soil, ensuring good contact between seed and soil, which helps germination. It also makes the seed less visible to birds, who will happily eat their way through the lot if given the chance.

Compact Soil After Sowing Seeds With Back of Rake

Compact Soil After Sowing Seeds With Back of Rake

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Keep Birds at Bay

To prevent hungry birds from eating the wildflower seed, set up a series of strings with old CDs threaded onto them across the sown area. The CDs reflect light as they move in the wind, which frightens off the birds.

Reflective CDs to Scare Off Birds

Reflective CDs to Scare Off Birds

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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