Wednesday 9 February 2022

Starting a wildflower garden

A new addition to part of the garden area this summer will hopefully be a wildflower garden, a sort of pre-herbicidal meadow effect. We have a small orchard area approximately 40 feet by 40 feet that has been designated as the location for this initiative. 

The recommended method for establishing a wildflower garden or meadow is to strip off the turf, dig over and rake to create a seed bed. Then a mixture of wild flower seed and grasses is sown broadcast and watered in. Soil improvement is not required as wild flowers generally prefer poor soil, so no extra nutrient need be applied.

I can foresee the potential for matters not to go to plan with this approach. In particular, poor germination from direct broadcast sowing. Aside from which, I don't have the appetite for more large scale turf removal at the moment having undertaken a fair bit this time last year when I created the new flower beds. 

My plan is to sow in modules and pots to get the plants established and plant them out as plug plants into the closely mown grass. Success will depend on sufficient plants growing on to flower, taking into account some losses on the way, and for them being able to keep up with with the grass growth. We shall see.

Today I sowed 15 different varieties of native wild flowers which should produce the sufficient quantity and diversity I have in mind. Here is the list:-

Borage (Borage officinalis)

Red valerian (Centranthus ruber)

Simpler's joy (Verbena officinalis)

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

 White clover (Trifolium repens)

Betony (Stachys officinalis)

Wild sage/ Wild clary (Salvia verbenaca)

Yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

Ragged robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi)

Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia)

Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)

Wild cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

Corn chamomile (Anthemis arvensis)

Common Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria)

The genesis of a wildflower garden.


  1. I just love those names like ragged robin and toadflax - and the old alternatives for some of them sainfoin = holy hay, betony = bishops wort. I do feel that the EU should have a "Common Agrimony Policy" and Wild Sage describes a crazy, but clever guy who leaps about declaiming his theories [like the late Magnus Pyke] I hope your wild garden flourishes and you have a summer meadow buzzing with bees and bright with butterflies.

  2. PS and you can put borage flowers in your Pimms!

    1. Thank you for that tip Ang. Yes, the common names are captivating. I'm drawn to toadflax myself, which can be seen around here in mid to late summer.

  3. I love the idea of growing plug plants. I would like a small patch of wildflowers on our small 'lawn' to complement the daisies and clover we already have; I shall try this method.

  4. Yes, why not have a go. I don't think it needs a big space to get a good effect.