Each season of the year is loosely associated with a different set of flowers.   We gardeners (and non-gardeners) have come to expect to see snowdrops in early spring followed by daffodils, tulips, cherry blossom, roses, hollyhocks, Michaelmas daisies, then ivy.  We see them in garden centres, in other people’s gardens and in public places. But how many of us look beyond the garden and take note of which wild flowers are blooming and when?

When to expect to see the Uk's most common wild flowers

Here’s a brief overview of the flowering species in traditional Meadowmat.  A quick glance tells you that you are likely to see flowers all the way from march through to October but the main flush will be in June/July.  At least that’s the theory.

flowering chart for traditional meadowmat

Look at the season not the month

Wild flowers don’t have calendars.  They don’t peep at their smart phones, decide it’s the middle of April so they’d better start thinking about growing flower stalks.   Wild flowers grow, bloom and complete their lifecycles according to the weather.

It’s thought that plants judge the season by the length of the day, the strength of the sunlight and the temperature of the soil and the air.  Their ultimate aim is to get pollinated and set disperse their seeds before the winter arrives.  So they time the arrival of their flowers for when the pollinating insects are flying – or, in the case of grasses, when it’s breezy enough for the wind to carry their pollen from one plant to another.

Then they time the ripening of their seed to when they are most likely to be dispersed effectively – either by animals, birds or the wind.

Can wild flowers be forced to flower early?

The beautiful flowers that you see in the garden centre always seem to be in bloom earlier than their garden based equivalents.  That’s because they’ve been forced on in a hothouse.  That’s possible because those plants have been bred to be easy to manipulate.   All of the seeds germinate at roughly the same time, each plant responds in the same way to its environment. Horticulturists know just how to alter the environment for each growth stage.  Whether the seeds are sown in January, March or June, the plants will flower a known number of weeks after sowing.

Wild flowers are not so malleable or as predictable as their cultivated cousins. 

As a rule of thumb, wild flowers will flower when their environment says they should.  Not earlier, not later.

So if you are planning an event and you need wild flowers to be in bloom on a certain date – choose species that are most likely to flower at that time…..and then all you can do is wait and hope.

When to expect to see your wild flowers in bloom

It would be impractical to list every wild flower species and its flowering times in this blog but there are many websites that carry a lot of information about UK wild flowers.

You can also find links to plant profiles on the Meadowmat website.

Click here for more information.

My Meadowmat didn’t bloom this year – why?

If your Meadowmat was installed after March, you may find that the floral display in its first year is a little depleted.   That’s because, the plants need time to prepare themselves for flowering.  First of all, they need to put roots down into the soil.  It takes 3-4 weeks for the roots to settle before the leaves and stems start to grow.   If by then, the growth season has passed, the flowers are unlikely to form at the right time and so the plant delays flowering until next season.

oxeye daisy flower

The oxeye daisy flowers between May and September depending on the season.  They are most frequently seen in June. For this species, September flowers are few and far between.

Let’s take the oxeye daisy as an example.  Oxeye daisies normally grow a lot of leaves between March and May.  The plants get larger, more bushy and taller.  They’re growing leaves that will capture sunlight to use as energy for producing flowers, pollen, nectar and seeds.  The plants push up their flowering stems around mid may.  The flowers begin to open in early June.

If Meadowmat with oxeye daisies is installed in late April, the plants (which are kept mown on the production fields to allow for safe transportation) will not have had the chance to grow as much leaf as they need before flowering time comes around.  So they can’t flower.  Simple.  Begonias and the like however, will simply delay their flowering for a month or so.

Lack of flowers in established Meadowmat is normally due to the plants’ local environment.  Maybe it’s too shady for them? Perhaps the soil is too rich in nutrients?  It’s worth seeking expert advice if you’re worried.

 

Download a FREE guide to gardening with wild flowers

 

Wildflowers in May - a pictoral guide

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