Installing Meadowmat wild flower matting is just the first step in the journey of creating a sustainable wild flower area. It’s the microclimate and how you manage the plants that really determines how the meadow will perform long term.

At the Landscape Show in Battersea this year, Angela Lambert aka Ladylawn will be visiting Harrowden Turf’s stand to answer questions about meadow management and how to find a good balance of species.

Chris Carr and Angela Lambert from Harrowden Turf

Angela Lambert with Chris Carr from Harrowden Turf

Angela was heavily involved in the development of Meadowmat wild flower mats and has a good working knowledge of the product. She has over 20 years of experience in the landscape industry and loves working in her own garden.

Typical questions around wild planting include, managing the ratio of grasses to flowers, knowing when to trim, maximising biodiversity, controlling unwanted species and managing customer expectations.

Finding the right balance between grass and flowers

This year (2017) has seen a lot of comments from gardeners and from landscape professionals about the proportions of grasses to flowering plants. Some are loving the texture and movement that grasses bring to a perennial wild flower area. Others feel that the proportion of grasses was too high and wanted to encourage more flowering plants.

There is plenty of advice online about managing wild planted areas. But none of it can ever be specific to one garden. Every situation is different in terms of client expectations, soil type, aspect, weather conditions and management. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Angela will attempt to offer practical advice not just on managing the plants but on managing your expectations too.

Managing expectations

Wild planted areas are not like any other type of planting scheme. For a start, non-native plants are nowhere near as predictable or forgiving as their cultivated cousins. As a nation of gardeners we are accustomed to buying plants or seeds, planting them and having them grow to look like the picture on the label or packet. We know roughly what each plant species needs in terms of spacing, light, shade, nutrition, pH and water and we care for them accordingly.

Native plants don’t tend to comply, which is what makes them so much more interesting than highly bred plants. However, it’s very difficult to be open minded when we’re just not used to having plants “misbehave”.

Experience has shown us for example that each year, one or two species do really well whilst others just seem to jog along. This year, grasses have loved the wet summer. It’s been great for lawn lovers who want strong grasses that crowd out broadleafed plants but if you’re a wildflower grower, you’re aiming for the opposite. So not good.

Last year plantains did really well, the year before it was campions and leucanthemums. We don’t know why that happens, it just does. But I guess customers need to know that they should expect the unexpected?

Come and see us at the Landscape Show

Landscape is an exhibition covering all aspects of outdoor design from planters, to patios, trees to terraces. If you are an architect, a garden designer, a landscape contractor – or all 3, you NEED to visit the show.

Register for free tickets here and don’t forget to come along to stand D3 (Harrowden Turf) with all of your wildflower conundrums. Photos will be enormously helpful as will little details on how and when the wild planted area was created and how it’s been managed.

Angela will be available from 1.30 to 3pm on the 19th September and between 11am and 1pm on the 20th. Or, if you’d like to arrange a time to fit in better with your day at the show, please email Chris Carr who make arrangements for you.

 

 Visit the Landscape Show 2017

 

The 5 principals of wildflower meadow management

 

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