Work began in April on the ecological forest garden project at Redhall edinburgh, for a front garden wildflower meadow.
The patch of rough ground was compacted, full of patchy grasses and rubble, as well as high on nitrates and other nutrients… the client has a desire for a wildflower meadow instead of a standard lawn alongside his gravel driveway. A plan fort the preparation was hatched with the idea over creating a new layer largely composed of sand with a little soil on top of existing ground conditions – in essence similar to a green roof preparation mix which would go on top of a waterproof membrane.
Work was quickly done ( 2hrs) and cost a basic £68 in materials. Once the ‘low in nutrients’ and free draining growing layer of sand and ‘green waste’ topsoil had been spread over the existing ground and grass to an appx depth 3-4 inches ( thus blocking light from existing grasses etc) and sand and wildflower seed mix was scattered evenly over the prepared space….
After a lot of rain and occasional sun along with tepid temperatures….the wildflowers along some pre-existing perennials ( thistles docks nettles etc) are now well underway! Flowers are out for the first of the annual wildflowers with a whole new crop just emerging from the soil….. End of July, August and September are looking to be great.
To give the wildflowers a fighting chance a whole raft of thistles, docks and nettles were spot killed in May, using tumbleweed glyphosphate tipex brush style application – Thus avoiding accidental contamination to neighbouring plants. A select few thistles and nettles were left untouched entirely down to their prowess as great wildlife plants…. unfortunately for them they are too good as indeed are some grasses and need their competitive edge removed or curtailed. Anyway things are definately developing and I look forward to seeing the mid summer results…..
Mid July and the first crop of wildflowers are looking really good now, judging by the seedlings just emerging this mix of plants are going to be putting on a show right into late autumn – keen to see how the winter seed head display works out as well!
I am happy with the plan to leave a few native thistles,docks and nettles etc to play a part in the meadow, the thistles are certainly adding structure without dominating or blocking light, and will soon be in flower themselves!
Some select weeding of the most dominating plants will be required towards the end of summer but the early weeding seems to have been successful in allowing all plants to flourish in this edinburgh front garden driveway….. so far.