Sown from a packet of seeds last summer, it flowered in April, waves of purple Honesty became a sea of blue Echiums by June, turning into frothy, white umbellifers in August. It is a place where our garden visitors linger, mesmerised by the sheer exuberance of flowers and astonishing numbers of butterflies and bumblebees. The meadow has a vibrancy and life if its own that draws people in like no other part of our garden. Each day reveals new flowers, surprise combinations. Is there such a thing as “Meadow Bathing”? Because when I walk through the meadow between thousands of jostling flowers, I emerge smiling, uplifted.
This little meadow is a riotous, happy place. And it has been incredibly easy to achieve.
For your average domestic garden, wildflower meadows can be tricky. They peak quickly, often looking messy after flowering. However, stylised Perennial Meadows have the look and feel of wildflowers with the advantage of a long flowering season and low maintenance. And they are a magnet for wildlife.
Just imagine the pollinators, dragonflies, moths, bats, and birds we could support if every garden in the UK had a few square metres of Perennial Meadow?
It is a specially formulated mix of wild flowers and perennial species, designed to flower year after year. My meadow comes from Sheffield’s Pictorial Meadows, experts in creating high impact, low input, stylised meadows. (They are responsible for those glorious meadows around the Olympic Park in 2012 and Rotherham’s award winning 8-mile River of Flowers)
And with a colour palette from eye-popping hot colours, jewel-like designer schemes or dreamy whites and pastels, you are sure to find a meadow mix to compliment your garden.
Mixes are available as seed or turf. Seed is lower cost but requires some skill during establishment. Turf is quick and easy to lay, results are instant.
You can lay turf or sow seed any time of year, September being the optimum month for seed sowing. Sow seed at 2g per m2. Mixing seeds with sharp sand helps, pick a calm day to sow and divide the ground into sections using canes and string.
Treat your perennial meadow just like a perennial border. We gave ours the ‘Chelsea Chop’ in May, ensuring it peaked for my daughter’s wedding in summer. I will cut it back again this September. It will flush neatly, flower again, producing seed heads for the birds through winter and look magical with a dusting of frost. Dead foliage should be removed in March.
I used Jakoti shears and a sickle to cut back our small meadow. Tackle larger meadows with reciprocating shears, long reach hedge cutters, or specialist tractors.
Perennial Meadows are not just for parks or country gardens.
Definitely! I’m itching to sow another meadow.
I would encourage anyone who wants flowers in their life to give it a go. Just a couple of square metres of meadow turf is sure to make you smile.
For further information on Perennial Meadows, sowing, establishment, maintenance and different meadow mixes see www.pictorialmeadows.com