The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

04 March 2007

Go wild with flowers

Landlife is an environmental charity working mainly in urban and urban-fringe areas, with the aim of bringing nature and people closer together. It promotes the sowing of wildflower seeds, which can bring colour back into the environment and help turn a patch of derelict land in any local community into a stunning wildlife area.

Landlife’s objectives are to:
• Develop and support creative conservation sites.
• Bring people and wildlife closer together.
• Promote better understanding of wildflowers and wildlife.
• Address issues of climate change.

You can buy mixed seed packs from Landlife Wildflowers. You will require about 1 gram of seeds per square metre of land. Order your seeds now and get sowing.
Trial size: 1 sq m = 1 gram
Small area: 10 sq m =10 gram or 100 sq m = 100 gram
Large area:
1000 sq m = 1 kg 
or 5000 sq m = 5 kg

Get your wildflower seeds from Landlife Wildflowers:
Visit the National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool:

How to create a Wildflower Meadow
Landlife meadow mixes are made up of fine grasses and flowers that bloom in their second year. The best sowing times are early Spring, or late Summer to Autumn. However, most wildflower seeds will germinate during the summer months if you are able to keep them moist.

It is very important to get the ground preparation right - fertile grassy areas will swamp wildflowers completely. You need to:
1. Ideally, scrape off the rich topsoil as it is full of weed seeds which will result in a lush growth that will swamp the wildflowers. If sown in topsoil spray the area or use an organic method to get rid of coarse grass and weed seed.
2. Create a fine seed bed in the subsoil and lightly sow the seed. If the area is large divide it into sections and sow evenly (mixing with barley meal, silver sand or sawdust helps to spread the seed evenly and helps you to see where you've been).
3. Rake in thoroughly and firm down to ensure your seeds have a good contact with the soil.
4. If you do sow in topsoil, you will have to keep on top of the weeds and thin out the grass periodically.
5. Mow the area at least three times in the first year to a height of about 5cm, this will also reduce grass competition. It is very important to remove the cuttings, as they will increase fertility. Treat the area as you would a lazy lawn i.e. cut when it looks untidy, approximately 3 times a year.

In year two, when the meadow will start to flower, cut once (make sure your flowers have all set seed), this will usually be by mid September and again remove the cuttings to a compost heap. These are some Do’s and Don’ts:
DON'T scatter your seed onto existing lawn/grass - it won't work.
DON'T apply fertiliser to your meadow.
DO keep the area watered in dry spells


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