Bridget

The Wildflower Meadow.

In Gardening on September 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Back in May as part of the gardening project at a local school I planted a wildflower meadow with the help of the children. A local farmer turned the sod and each child scattered a handful of seeds onto the bare earth. Four months later this is the result. Fab!

                                                                                               Earlier in the week Andy strimmed a path alongside the wildflower area to create a pathway for the children to walk among the flowers which have grown tremendously since the children got their Summer holidays at the end of June.

The kilo of seeds was meant to have 16 varieties of native flowers, as you can see this has’nt materialised, nontheless it makes a great impact. The white flowers are Chamomile, they can be dried and used to make a tea which relieves nausea and indigestion. A decoction can be used as a hair conditioner.

The yellow flowers are Corn Marigold, as far as I know they have no use as a herb. The benefit of wildflower areas like this are enormous for wildlife. On Wednesday evening when Andy did the strimming the flowers were buzzing with insects, Hoverflies, Bees and Bumble Bees the most common.

Among the yellow and whites there are also Poppies and Corn Cockle (above). When seeds form they will be collected and used to extend this wildflower area next Spring. The children will be involved in the seed collecting and drying. The area will then be strimmed and the cuttings taken away so as not to over fertilise the soil. Wildflowers do better on poorer soils.

Back at home and the Tomatoes are ripening at last. It was been such a weird weather year that everything has been slow. Even Lettuce was problematic, it just came up and went straight to seed. These are Moneymaker Tomatoes which a lot of people say have a bland flavour but when grown organically I do not find this to be so.

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  1. What a great project! I make incense with my chamomile (with lavender, rose petals and benzoin – very summery) and put it in bath salts so it doesn’t have to be tea 🙂

  2. This was a terrific project for the children. I am sure some of them will remember their wildflower meadow when they are grown, and who knows what gardening dreams you have inspired!

  3. Love this post…. how lucky are those children to have you come and work with them on this!
    Have been so busy…buts its a delight to visit here again!
    S

  4. Just a reminder that corn cockle seeds are poisonous (Wiki suggests you need to eat 3g to experience toxicity), so keep an eye on the children when they are collecting. How much grass do you have amongst the flowers? My suggestion would be to rotovate the meadow after cutting to stop the grass smothering the flowers next year and add some more seed in spring? If, as I imagine, the soil is acid and on the damp side, you can get packets of seed containing species designed for those condiitions (more expensive, but you might have a better germination rate)

  5. Lucky children to have you to show them how to sow a meadow. They will learn so much from this exercise and will remember it all their lives, well done!

  6. This will definitely be a lasting memory for the kids. So beautiful and they will have a good understanding of how the wildflower meadows works too.

  7. What a wonderful idea to plant a wildflower meadow. It looks so beautiful, I wish I could take a walk there too. I am looking forward to seeing it in bloom again next year.

  8. Your wildflower planting looks great! Don’t lose heart, not all the species present will germinate or flower the first summer.
    This webpage gives more detailed information on the germination process of different types of seeds: http://www.ernstseed.com/products/expectations-of-your-native-species/
    Good luck!

  9. A pity about the varieties which did not germinate. Still a success with such a huge white and yellow blanket of flowers. Well done.

  10. Anyone who works with small children is very brave! Chamomile smells so nice when you brush against it. The tea doesn’t do much for me either.

  11. What a beautiful and inspiring project, I wish there were more wildflower meadows in Ireland, wouldn’t they look lovely along the motorways?

  12. I think planting a wildflower meadow is a great lesson for children. To see that one can have a natural and beautiful ‘ground cover’ other than grass is something they will remember.

  13. P.S. Chamomile itself is very pretty – I like all white daisy flowers. If only it didn’t smell so . . .

  14. It’s a good year for yellow.

    As for chamomile – a tea-pot with chamomile tea-leaves in smells like a soggy compost-heap and the smell turns my stomach queasy. I like yellow though.

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