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Wildflower meadow help


 
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baabamaal
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 28 Jun 2012
Posts: 98
Location: Bog of Allen

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:30 am    Post subject: Wildflower meadow help Reply with quote

Hi all

I have allowed a large front lawn to grow into a wildflower meadow (or more accurately a species-rich grassland) over the last three years. I have added in plugs of a few "weeds" that are growing around the place and it is beginnning to take shape. However, I want it to have a lot more colour and am willing to use non-native flowering plants (once they are good wildlife plants).
The mowing regime is, one cut in early spring to keep the grasses in check, and one cut in September after everything has set seed. The plants that are doing well include red and white clover, rosebay willowherb, fleabane, ox eye daisy, meadow vetch, ragwort (shh- don't tell the Guards!- I top them before they seed) and similar.
My issue is that the soil is poor (heavy clay) so bakes hard in the summer and turns into a pond (literally) in winter.
So I am looking for wildlife-friendly perennials that can survive this harsh environment- preferably ones that will propagate! Sowing from seed is hit and miss into an established meadow so plugs and rooted cuttings are what I am thinking of. The above list is heavy on purples and yellows (I think I read that our latitude faours plants on this part of the light spectrum?), but I would love some red, orange, and pale blues. I have about a third of an acre of this so cheap, self-propagating options would be good. I am reluctant to include montbretia/crocosomia because of it's invasiveness but would welcome any thoughts you knowledgeable people might have. Smile
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Sive
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Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would you be able to get help and advice from :

http://www.wildflowers.ie/

....I wonder ? Worth a try !
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Greengage
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Joined: 09 Nov 2011
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Location: Kildare

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

first off a wild flower meadow like you require needs poor soil if it has been ncared for and fertilised previously you need to remove the top soil, Then rotovate it to allow air into it, sppread the seed and see what comes up. look around at the native flora see whats doing well, Have a look at this site and see what you need.
http://www.wildflowers.ie/
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baabamaal
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 28 Jun 2012
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Location: Bog of Allen

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks folks
I'll follow up with that site alright. In terms of the ground, I am aware of the topsoil issue- it isn't an issue for me as it is universally poor! (The man who built the house intended to put topsoil down but never quite got to do it! So it perfect from that point of view).
I had previously scarified the lot as well as planting in some of the plants listed, so I am really hoping just to add in plugs to the existing set up, hence I am really looking for some relatively easy to obtain flowering perennials that can survive the conditions.
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baabamaal
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 28 Jun 2012
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Location: Bog of Allen

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come on people, any ideas for wildlife-friendly perennials that will work in a meadow subject to dry summers and wet winters? Smile
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sutre we thought you were doing the research yourself, depends what you want to achieve here are some and see what you think,
Rudbeckia, Echaniceae, Sedum, Filipendula, Gaillardia, Geranium, Lupins, hemerocallis, Dog daisies, Shasta daisies, Chrysanthenums, Coreopsis, Aster and Helianthus all north american perennials, If you want native only then you are limited.
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baabamaal
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 28 Jun 2012
Posts: 98
Location: Bog of Allen

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Greengage! I had done a bit of research but your's is the most complete listing of possibles tht I have seen! (I wouldn't be terribly confident about choosing plants that I'm not familiar with). Anyhow- great starting point here and some interesting looking plants. Loads of research now to see which ones are available, which ones I will be able to propagate etc. Really appreciate the list actually. I'll post a photo next summer!! Very Happy
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Good guy
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Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you thought of taking advantage of the poor drainage? It might be possible to encourage the accumulation of water in the wettest area so as to make a boggy place. You could expect things like Wild Mint, Mentha aquatica, 90cm tall, lilac flowers from July to September, visited by Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies; also Purple Loosestrife, also tall - that in my pond is about 1.5m - with purple flowers from June to September; there would be others.
See: www.wildflowersofireland.net
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baabamaal
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 28 Jun 2012
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Location: Bog of Allen

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Good Guy

it's an odd site in that it remains wet to damp for 7-8 months of the year (literally under two or three inches of water in places for weeks at a time) and then turns rock hard for the rest. I have water mint in a pond beside the meadow and it is currently looking great- I don't t think it could cope with the dry part of the year in the meadow though. I have my eye on some loosestrife down the road and will be harvesting seed from it in a few weeks time! They are great for the butterflies alright and terrific looking plants to boot.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of our native wildflowers are purple or yellow so I am also looking to broaden the colour scheme with some wildlife-friendly non-natives. Some of the plants Greengage suggested look great so I will be following up Smile
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Good guy
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Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, good luck with it. Would it be worth incorporating some water-retaining organic matter into one part, to see if it helps with the summer drought?
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