There are five amazing varieties of Meadowmat wild flower turf.  In this article, I’m going to turn the spotlight onto Meadowmat for Roof and Garden.

What is Meadowmat?

Very briefly, Meadowmat is a blanket of plants. It’s a bit like lawn turf, except that the rolls are bigger and the sward contains lots of different plant species.

meadowmat roll

 

The idea of Meadowmat is to help you establish a wildflower area quickly and easily. There’s no worrying about slow germination, birds eating the seeds or weeds growing where you wanted plants. With Meadowmat, all you need to do is unroll the blanket onto prepared ground and hey-presto – instant ground cover! You will need to keep it watered until the roots have pushed down into the soil beneath but other than that there’s minimal work, minimal fuss and maximum benefit.

Read more about Meadowmat here 

Meadowmat comes in a neat roll with plants around 10cm high.
Once established, the plants quickly grow to around 1m high
depending on the species present.

Why Meadowmat for Roof and Garden?

Of the five varieties of Meadowmat, Roof and Garden has the best mix of plants for surviving in the harsh conditions of a green roof. It also looks pretty good on the ground.

flower head of achillea millifolia

Yarrow is a great plant for green roofing. It is native to the UK, perennial and is just as happy growing on top of a high rise building as it is at the side of the road.

There are 23 species of native UK wild flowers and grasses in this Meadowmat variety. All but 3 of them are perennial. This particular mix is very colourful, very wildlife friendly and very easy to care for.

Growing wild flowers on a green roof

A green roof presents a whole different set of challenges to plants that say a flower border does.  Here are just a few of them

Temperature

On a garden shed or the like, the air and soil temperatures are much the same as on the ground. But, the higher the building, the hotter the roof gets in summer and the colder it is in winter. Green roof plants need to be able to tolerate a bigger temperature range than “ordinary” plants get subjected to…especially if you want them to grow year after year.

Limited growing medium

A green roof is effectively a great big plant pot. There is a finite amount of growing medium. In order to manage the load on the building and the construction costs, most green roofs have as little growing medium as they can get away with. The plants on a green roof need to be able to adapt to having a slight restriction on their root growth.

Water supply

Unless the roof is irrigated regularly, the water supply is limited to what falls from the sky. On the ground, plants can sink their roots deeper to find water. Green roof plants don’t have that luxury. Plus, for engineering reasons, the growing medium on a living roof needs to be very well drained.

Thirsty plant species just won’t thrive on an unirrigated green roof.

Soil type

All wild flowers prefer a low nutrient growing medium, which is just as well. Green roof substrate (the growing medium on a green roof is technically not soil – it’s an engineered substrate) is necessarily low in organic material. That means it’s also low in plant nutrients and the microbes that convert air and dead plants into plant nutrients.

close up of green roof substrate

Green roof growing medium is gritty, well drained and light weight. It's ideal for growing sedums or wild flowers but not at all suitable for some of our common garden flowers.

Meadowmat for Roof and Garden is made from plants that thrive in harsh, low nutrient conditions where water is sometimes in short supply. Things like thrift, harebell and lady’s bedstraw that naturally grow in sparse soils.

Wind and weather

Have you ever stood on a high roof and been surprised at how blustery it is up there? I have, and some mornings I watch the weather lady standing on the roof of the BBC and sympathise with her as she tries to control her hair.

Tender leaved plants get shredded to pieces in those conditions and so we’ve chosen species with small, flexible leaves that can cope with windy conditions.  We’ve also gone for species that tend to be low growing in those circumstances. On the ground, Meadowmat for Roof and Garden grows to around hip height (I’m 5 ft 4) whilst on a high roof it only reaches knee height. Plants are so clever!

Maintenance

Extensive green roofs don’t get as much attention as gardens. That’s a fact of life. And actually it’s a good thing, it means that insects and birds can come and go without interruption. It also means that plant species need to be pretty self-sufficient.

If you choose to grow wild flowers on a roof you will need to cut them back once a year and remove all the clippings. Other than that, it’s a matter of keeping drainage outlets clear, and weeding out unwanted plants from time to time.

The same maintenance regime applies to Meadowmat on the ground – told you it was easy didn’t I?

What’s in Meadowmat for Roof and Garden?

We know that all 23 species of plant in Meadowmat for Roof and Garden are native to the UK. They can withstand the harsh conditions on a green roof and give a lovely splash of colour for you to look at all summer long. They also provide food and shelter for local insects and really help improve biodiversity.

flower spike of vipers bugloss

Vipers bugloss, one of my personal favourite wild flowers. It's robust enough for a green roof, beautiful enough for a garden. Bees love it and although its a biennial and perhaps doesn't appear every year, it's great value.

5% of the seedmix by weight is grass. That will give all year round coverage and stabilises the growing medium. It also makes Meadowmat easy to handle and install.

22 of the species will provide beautiful flowers. My personal favourites in this particular mix are maiden pink (a stunning cerise colour), vipers bugloss (irresistible to bees) and lady’s bedstraw (smells divine).  The full seedmix is on the Meadowmat website. Here https://www.meadowmat.com/meadowmat-varieties/roofmeadow

 

Further Reading

More information about Meadowmat for Roof and Garden

Other varieties of Meadowmat

Case Study: A wildflower roof in London