Wildflower Management: Maintain and Develop

Neighbourhoods Green

Once sown you will have little to do other than ensure that the area is protected from opportunistic birds – netting can be used for this purpose. We also recommend you keep an eye out for weeds; try to remove weed seedlings by hand as soon as possible to ensure they do not take over the plot.

At the end of the season 

  • Once your annuals have died back in autumn, pull these out and compost the dead plants. Where your plants are not in a prime location, leaving the dead plants in place until spring will offer more benefit for wildlife over the winter. 
  • To extend the area’s season of interest if you are removing dead plants in autumn, try replacing the wildflowers with winter bedding, under-planted with spring bulbs. This way you will have almost year-round ground cover.

Options for developing your wildflower area

  • Re-sow a second cornfield annual seed mix for another year's flowers.

This can be done in one of two ways: 

  1. The most reliable method is to start again with fresh seed bought from a garden centre or specialist supplier. You can find a list of UK wildflower seed suppliers in useful contacts
  2. Alternatively, you can allow the seed to set on this year’s flowers and scatter it in situ before pulling out the plants. Although cheaper, this method can result in some plants becoming more dominant and perennial weeds may also take hold on the site. If so, it is best to start from scratch with a prepared site and new seeds. 
  • Create a bug hotel near your wildflower area to provide homes for overwintering insects.

Visit the School Gardening section of the RHS website to find out more about how to do this and other projects. 

  • Build connections with your local community by inviting nearby gardening groups to get involved.

Many groups will be keen to support you with advice or assistance. You can find your local Britain in Bloom or It’s Your Neighbourhood group, or RHS Affiliated Societies using the online map: www.rhs.org.uk/communities

  • Sow a Pictorial Meadow

Where there is no danger that plants will escape from the area into the wild, you might like to consider sowing a Pictorial Meadow. Pictorial Meadows are annual seed mixes that combine both native and non-native flowers to provide vibrant and colourful displays.

As with annual cornfield seed mixes, Pictorial Meadows do not require an impoverished soil to thrive and will provide a good display in the first year of planting. They are also best when re-sown each year. The sowing technique is the same as for other mixes, with seeds being broadcast directly onto cleared, weed-free ground.

To read more about the seed mixes available, visit www.pictorialmeadows.co.uk