Help! My wildflower meadow was damaged by a storm

Yesterday I recieved a message from Yvonne in Manchester whose mini wildflower meadow fell victim to a recent storm.  Here's what she said...

Hi

I purchased some Meadowmat from you a few months ago. Delighted with it - it grew beautifully and by June we even had a poppy and i was about 3 ft tall.  Then one night we had a horrendous storm and the whole thing was flattened and has never recovered.  The front garden 3 x 3 now looks like a weed area with the odd flower pushing through.  What do you suggest? It's never going to lift by itself - shall I cut it right back to a mat again?



How to cope with storm damage in a wildflower meadow

wildflower meadow after summer haircut

Our Production team said

Dear Yvonne

Thankyou for getting in touch with us about your storm damaged Meadowmat.  You're absolutely right, once the plant stems are broken they won't mend themselves again.  But don't worry, these are perennial plants and they'll soon recover.

You are correct in assuming that your Meadowmat will need to be cut back.  We normally recommend that it has a good haircut at the end of summer anyway..  

Using garden shears or a scythe if you're brave enough; cut the damaged vegetation back so that the mat is around 10cm (4 inches) high.  Avoid using a strimmer if you can...it breaks the stalks into tiny pieces that will rot down and add to soil fertility.  The trick to successful meadow management is to keep the soil as nutrient poor as you possibly can so strimming is not ideal.

Leave the cuttings on top of the mat for a couple of days.  They'll dry out nicely so that you or your friends can use the hay for animal feed.  Plus, any ripe seeds will drop back into the mat and grow again next year.  When the cuttings are dry, give them a good shake and take them right away.

Your Meadowmat will look a bit sorry for itself for a couple of weeks, but before very long the plants will start to green up and grow again.  The next big flush of flowers won't be until next spring/summer.  You can keep your Meadowmat looking neat through the autumn and winter by occasionally running over it with the lawn mower on it's highest setting. Don't forget to keep the grass box on though.  Those clippings MUST be removed every time the Meadow is trimmed.

Hope this helps

 

 Perennial meadow plants withstand storm damage in the long term

It's heartbreaking when your garden plants get damaged by bad weather.  Especially in summer time when you want to be outside enjoying the blooms and watching the bees visit the flowers.

The beauty of perennial plants is that even if the flower heads get bashed battered and broken by wind and rain, the roots generally stay safe.  That means that the plants will put up new flower stalks.  Sometimes garden flowers will bloom again if the blossoms are damaged and removed.  That's why gardeners spend so much time dead-heading in the summer.

colourful wildflower meadow

Perennial wild flowers tend to just have one flush of blooms.  If a wildflower meadow gets storm damaged, it may not bloom again for several months.  On the other hand, it might.  Some plants such as clover, oxeye daisy, knapweed and wild carrot do sometimes have a second flush of flowers.

A wildflower meadow sown only using the brightly coloured but delicate annual wild flowers isn't so robust.  Annual wildflowers include poppies, cornflowers, corn cockle and corn marigold.  These are brightly coloured and uber-attractive to pollinating insects but once they're gone, they're gone.  Annual wildflowers won't regenerate from the roots and they do need to be re-sown every year.

How to plant your own perennial wild flower meadow

Meadowmat have written a guide to planting and maintaining a perennial wild flower meadow.  

Download your free copy here