‘Wildflower meadow’ generally refers to UK native species, but there has been growing appreciation of non-native meadow flowers that have a beneficial effect on wildlife and their neighbouring native plants.
Wildflower meadows in the right place can provide good foraging for insects which, in turn, can attract small birds and bats.
Centaurea cyanus has few natural sustainable communities left in the UK, but has been revived in gardens and on green roofs where it faces less threat from aggressive grasses.
If you particularly need UK seed source, be clear on your specification, as some species are easier and cheaper to grow from foreign seed stock. It is worth having an idea of back-ups or substitutions, especially if you are choosing uncommon varieties – the seed may only be available at certain times of year or not commercially available at all. Your contractor should be clear on whether there is flexibility on seed source, variety or completion date when difficult species are requested, especially if this contributes to a BREEAM credit specification.
We have tested a wide range of wildflowers to grow on request, and have put some of the most reliable in our catalogue. Choosing particular varieties to plant as plugs gives control over your colour palette and provides real opportunity to target desirable species from your local area.
- Annuals can be used in the first year to provide colour while the perennials get established, and will often self-seed for the next year.
- Use slightly richer substrate than is required for sedums and build it deeper to support a wider variety of plants.
- Add grasses, as long as they are not aggressive species that will take over your roof.
- Be prepared to cut back in the autumn after seeding to reduce dying plant matter over winter for a neater finish – this is not essential.