Transforming derelict land into a Wildflower meadow

On 12th March 2012 we were approached by Patrick Burrows who wanted to install a wildflower meadow on some derelict land that he owns.
He approached us because he wanted some advise with regard to the fertility of the existing soil. Patrick understood that wildflower meadows prefer low fertility soils, and he was concerned that due to the soil having quite a high fertility, the Wildflower Turf would struggle or perhaps even fail. Although derelict land is usually associated with nutrient poor soils from either re-development and
re-use, due to building rubbles, old industrial spoils and compacted sub-soils, in Patrick’s particular case, the soil was quite good quality.
Our advise was that it will establish without a problem. This is largely due to the fact that Patrick was not trying to establish a meadow from seed. If that were the case then soil fertility would be very relevant, because it is probably the single most important factor, influencing wildflower establishment.
However with our turf, the plants are already well established. We explained to Patrick that what he may find is that in its first year the grasses may dominate slightly, but providing that the maintenance is kept in check, (one annual cut in the autumn and the removal of the cuttings) then the following year, the fertility will naturally become depleted and as a result, the flowers will become more dominant the following year. Nature has a marvelous way of achieving an equilibrium given the correct set of circumstances, so after a couple of years the fertility levels will be perfect for a wildflower meadow.
Patrick has very kindly provided us with before, during and after photos of his Wildflower Turf, and had this comment to share with us.
‘Just thought I would send you these snaps – it is really coming on and we are very happy’ !

Preparation for laying Wildflower Turf

Ground prepared - a tilth has been created to lay the turf onto

Installing Wildflower Turf

Wildflower Turf flowering - beginning of May 2012

The end of May 2012

Thank you for the pictures Patrick, we are really glad that you like the turf and long may the meadow continue to provide you with enjoyment.