How to Create a Meadow Effect

A wildflower, meadow effect, can be an easy-care option for your yard and garden with the right preparation. It will reduce the area you have to mow, and make decorative use of hard-to-maintain corners. You can even adapt existing lawns to this method.

"Wildflower Meadow"

Wildflower Meadow

Caring for your wildflower meadow

For a meadow effect using cornfield annuals, sow field poppy, cornflower, corn cockle, corn marigold, and corn chamomile in fall or spring on weed-free soil. Turn the soil each year in spring to cause the fallen seed to germinate, and rake in additional seed to guarantee displays. For a perennial meadow, cut plants back periodically in the first year to help them establish. Most plants will start flowering from the second year. Bridge the flowering gap with cornfield annuals.

Mowing a path through long grass

The pleasing contrast between long and short grass can be formal or informal, with meandering pathways. Areas left to grow and flower may contain a wider variety of species than you expect. Dig out or spot-weed coarse colonizers, like thistle, dock, or tree see seedlings, and cut long grass annually in early fall. Plant daffodils to naturalize and buy plug plants-ox-eye daisy and taller biennials, such as teasel and wild carrot-to plat into the tall grass in spring.

Create a flowering lawn

Lawns that haven’t been treated regularly with weedkiller and that are relatively poor in nutrients-unfed or on sandy soil-are perfect for turning into a flowery lawn. These lawns will almost certainly already contain a wide range of low-growing wild flowers including hawkbit, white and red clover, daisy, yarrow, plantain, self-heal, bird’s-foot trefoil, and speedwell. Infrequent mowing allows the sod to flower in flushes but still be cut again with relative ease.

"Create a Meadow Effect"

Create a Colorful Meadow Effect"

Sowing a Meadow

1. Using seed from a wildflower specialist, spring sow either a mix containing solely perennial wild flowers or one combined with noninvasive grasses. The sowing density instructions should be in the catalog or on the pack.

2. To improve results in fertile clay, or soil badly contaminated with perennial weeds, remove at least a spade’s depth of topsoil. Replace with weed-free and poor sandy soil that hasn’t been treated with manure.

3. Poorly drained or fertile soils also benefit from a thick top-dressing of sand. Divide the plot roughly into yard or meter squares using canes or twine. To further aid sowing, mix the seed with washed and sow evenly in the squares.

4. Firm seed with the back of a rake, bringing it in close contact with the soil. Water thoroughly if it doesn’t rain within a few days of sowing. Remove any perennial weeds during early establishment.

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