The Allotment Wildflower Meadow

Native wildflower meadows are an endangered habitat, nearly all our of wildflower meadows have disappeared as farming practices have changed and towns and villages have expanded to swallow up flower-rich fields. This is tragic because they are so good for our native wildlife, especially insects and small mammals. Therefore conservation and regeneration of this key ecosystem is important.

Flowers pictured: Poppies, cornflowers, ox-eye daisies, knapweed

With the assistance of BBOWT (Bucks Beds Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust), we prepared the seed bed and sowed a wildflower meadow mix ‘EM4’ from ‘Emorsgate Seeds’ (https://wildseed.co.uk/mixtures/category/meadow-and-grassland).

Bare seed bed gave us an advantageous start to establishing the meadow

The meadow will then need to be properly managed as an ‘establishing meadow’. This means 1 or 2 hay cuts in early and late summer, using scythes, a scythe mower, or a flail mower. The hay must then be raked up and removed, as wildflower meadows require poor nutrient soils (unlike bully weeds such as nettles, thistles and coarse grasses that thrive in nutrient-rich soils).

Our meadow in first-year bloom

The perennial species, like the ox-eye daisies, will recur year on year. Whereas the annuals, like the cornflowers, might need some assistance through scarification so that their seed falls on bare ground. Naturally, this would have been done coincidentally by grazing herbivores- so the management of wildflower meadows can benefit from grazing at the right time.

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