A flower meadow is not only an eye-catcher in any garden, but also an important habitat for many animals and insects. Find out how to create a low-maintenance flower meadow here.
Flower meadow: Why it’s not only beautiful, but also important
A flower meadow not only provides color and diversity in the garden, but also represents a valuable biotope: A wide variety of flower species gather in it, creating a unique habitat for numerous small animals and insects. From hedgehogs to butterflies and wild bees, many creatures feel at home in a flower meadow.
A flower meadow also offers these practical advantages:
low maintenance: flower meadows only need to be fertilized when necessary and mowed once or twice a year.
low water requirements: compared to (English) lawns, which need a lot of water to stay lush green, flower meadows need significantly less water to bloom.
A distinction is made between rich and lean meadows. The former is a meadow that thrives on rich, nutrient-rich soil and is often used as pasture in agriculture. It grows fast-sprouting grasses and other competitive plants. These often crowd out weaker plants such as simple grasses. It is thus not as species-rich as lean meadows, such as wildflower meadows, which often have more than 100 different flowers and herbs. So these are particularly good habitats for as many native animals and insects as possible.
Creating a flower meadow: Which plants are suitable?
Native wild plants are particularly suitable for a species-rich and insect-friendly flower meadow. The native animal and insect world cannot do much with exotic plants, because they are often not suitable food sources.
When choosing seeds, you should therefore make sure that they are regional organic seeds of native plants. You can either use special seed mixes or choose your own favorites from the many native wildflowers available. Try to combine annual native wild plants with perennials. This will make the meadow especially diverse.
A few suitable wild plants are:
- Red Clover
- Wild cardoon
- Wild carrot
- Corn poppy
- Daisy, perennial
- Meadow sorrel, perennial
- Meadowsweet, perennial
- Marguerites, perennial
- Meadow bellflower, perennial
- Glueweed, perennial
- Meadow widow’s-flower, perennial
- Common yarrow, perennial
Location and soil
Flower meadows prefer nutrient-poor, rather dry soils in a sunny location. However, wild meadows can also be established in places with nutrient-rich soil and in partial shade if you take care to select the right plants. Wild garlic, yellow wood anemone, winter bulbs and hollow larch spur, for example, also thrive there.
Prepare the soil of the flower meadow
After you have chosen the location of your flower meadow, next steps are.
Measure the area
The size of the flower meadow will determine how much seed you need.
If you want to plant a flower meadow from scratch, five to ten grams of seed per square meter are sufficient. As a general rule, it is better to sow too much than too little, because wildflowers do not have the strongest germination capacity.
Prepare the soil
- If you want to plant your flower meadow in the lawn, you must first prepare the area, i.e. remove the lawn and slim down the soil. This is necessary because the nutrient content of lawn soil is often very high.
- The best way to remove the lawn is to peel off the turf with a sharp spade.
- Then dig up the soil, breaking up larger clumps of soil. Mix some sand into the soil to lower the nutrient content.
- Level the area with a wide rake and then compact it by going over it with a roller. Rake the area again with a rake.
- If you have a grass-free area available, dig it up as well, remove existing roots and loosen the soil well. Level the area with a rake and then compact it by going over it with a roller. Roughen the area again with a rake.
Create flower meadow: Sowing
Once your soil is well prepared, it’s time to sow.
- The best time for sowing is between March and May. Choose a day when there is as little wind as possible, so that the fine seeds are not carried away by the wind as soon as you have thrown them out.
- Mix the seed with some sand or sawdust. This filler material will make it easier to scatter the seed and you will be able to see where you have already thrown out seed.
- Walk slowly over the area and spread the seed with a wide sweep. This way you cover a large area. Be careful not to scatter all the seed at once.
- You can use the remaining seed to close gaps if necessary.
- Then drive over the area again with a roller. This ensures that all seeds are covered with soil and can germinate well.
- Water the seedbed generously and over the entire area so that it is well moistened. It is best to use a swivel attachment for your watering can or water hose to prevent puddles from forming.
- You should also keep the soil evenly moist for the next four to five weeks, because the plants need sufficient moisture, especially for germination.
Tip: Create walkway in the flower meadow.
- Flower meadows should not be walked on, if possible, because the flowers are often very delicate. However, you can integrate a grass path into your flower meadow. To do this, mark the beginning and end of the path with four sticks and mark the course of the path with a spade. The path should be as wide as your lawn mower, which will make it easier to mow later.
- Spread the flower seeds as described, but leave out the path area. On this area you will sow lawn seed.
Maintain flower meadow
Maintaining a flower meadow does not require much effort. The most important maintenance measure is mowing. There are a few things to keep in mind.
- Mow the area twice a year: without mowing, the meadow would go wild and grasses would crowd out the flowers. Cutting back encourages growth in wildflowers. In the second year, the meadow may only need to be mowed once.
- Timing for mowing: As a general rule, you should not mow when most of the flowers are still in bloom. This is because many wild plants reproduce by self-seeding. Only when most of the flowers have dried up can you mow. This is usually the case between mid-July and the end of August. You can mow a second time from the end of September to the end of October.
- Scythe for mowing: A lawn mower is usually not suitable for mowing a flower meadow. With a (motorized) scythe it works better and more targeted, because you can leave the not yet withered plants.
- Do not mow the whole area at once, otherwise you will destroy the entire habitat of many animals and insects. Always leave a few corners so that the inhabitants of the meadow can retreat to them.
- Leave the clippings on the lawn for a few days, so that the flowers can sow. Then rake the clippings and compost them. It should not remain on the lawn, otherwise it will develop into humus, which will enrich the soil of the lawn.
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I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
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