Gardeners’ World Live

Over the weekend, hundreds of keen gardeners filled the NEC in Birmingham to hear from experts, browse exhibitors stalls and take inspiration from a number of superb show gardens. Wildflower Turf were delighted to supply turf to a few of the award-winning designers; Mosaic Design, The Gardenmakers and Halcyon Days.

Owen Morgan, of Mosaic Design, was awarded Best Show Garden and a Gold Award for the Health for Life Community Garden. The Show Garden supports the Health for Life programme, celebrating the use of community gardening as a device to engage with wider social issues. Funded by the Mondel?z International Foundation and delivered by TCV, the Health for Life in the community programme started in 2012 and has created fifteen community food growing spaces in south Birmingham involving 3,000 volunteers so far.

Health For Life Community Garden designed by Owen Morgan

Health For Life Community Garden designed by Owen Morgan

Not only did the Health for Life Community Garden look spectacular, it also hosted a range of fun activities for visitors to enjoy. They held live performances and children could partake in seed mat planting and healthy eating activities, promoting healthy lifestyles for the Health for Life programme.

UntitledIn conjunction with the Gardenmakers of Warwickshire, Claudia de Yong won the People’s Choice Award and a Silver Merit for creating a small, natural oasis in the heart of a city environment. Claudia de Yong is known for creating ‘romantic’ gardens and landscapes, and uses the finest materials and carefully chosen plants. The garden features a curved brick path, leading to a small shed housing gardening essentials. Claudia’s deep love for traditional crafts inspired the urban haven, which features a bespoke ‘insect hotel’, a small potager for vegetables, a beehive and fruit trees. A wildflower meadow supplied by Wildflower Turf gives the garden a sense of tranquility and thrives with colour.

Owen Morgan and Claudia de Yong weren’t the only award winners of Gardeners’ WorlLegacyd Live to use Wildflower Turf, Andy Tudbury of Halcyon Garden Design was awarded Bronze for the Show Garden Legacy. Designed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Geoff Hamilton’s death, the boardwalk goes over a shallow gravel pool between two raised beds planted with Geoff Hamilton roses. Recycled plants and materials were used in creating the memorable show garden, for instance, the boardwalk is made from scaffold boards. A mass bed of cottage style planting is located to the right, with a striking wildflower meadow to the left.

Check out the Gardeners’ World Live website to see the highlights.

 

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A Journey into The Hive

 

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Standing under the 17-metre-high aluminum installation, The Hive displayed at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens is more than just a sight to be seen. Created by Wolfgang Buttress, Simmonds Studio and BDP, The Hive is a feat of British engineering and formed the centerpiece of the UK Pavilion at 2015 Milan Expo. Wolfgang was inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Bencsik of Nottingham Trent University to design the glorious latticed structure.

Besides looking incredible, The Hive raises awareness of the steep decline of bees. EU research revealed that 29% of British honey bee colonies died in the 2012/13 winter alone. Pollinating insects are the secret heroes of agriculture and the structure highlights the importance of pollinators to our future food security.

Visitors are drawn into The Hive via a lush and vibrant wildflower meadow that Wildflower Turf Ltd were delighted to grow for the prestigious project. A mix of Landscape Turf and Border Turf were used within the surrounding garden, with a mix of bright annuals and native perennial wildflowers.

The multi-sensory elements of The Hive create an insight into life inside a bee colony. Not only will you hear buzzes and hums around you, hundreds of LED lights glow and fade. The intensity of the light and sound changes as the energy levels in the real beehive serge, creating a sensuous experience.

The Hive opens to the public on 18 June 2016. It will remain a feature in the Gardens through to the end of 2017.

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Looking After Your Wildflower Meadow This Summer

This blog will take you through the steps of maintaining a wonderful wildflower meadow over the summer months. If you are keen to find out even more about Wildflower Turf, look out for our book which will be published later on this year.

A single end of season cut is essential, however, you may feel one of the below mid-season cuts is appropriate.

Summer Cut – Suitable for Rapidly Growing Meadows

This maintenance cut is a little bit of a leap of faith as the meadow may well be looking at its best right now. Cutting with a strimmer with a hedge trimmer attachment is the perfect type of tool to use taking the top layer off, to a height of 20-30cms. The purpose of the cut is to take off a large proportion of the young green material that has not experienced leaf shatter – a very effective way of depleting nutrients. You will see plenty of flowering buds under this level and the flowers will be quick to re-establish. You must be quite sensitive when forking off the material from the meadow, raking is not advised for clearance. With this cut, you will definitely lengthen the flowering period of the meadow, whilst improving the flower to grass ratio for the following season.

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A result of high fertility or too much water during the establishment phase.

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Clearing away the cutting on any cut is vital to deplete nutrient levels.

Late Summer Cut – Scruffy Meadows/Drought Years

In some people’s eyes, senesced growth (browning vegetation and seed heads) can look scruffy. A cut at this time of year can tidy up the whole area. It will be of great benefit to the late flowering species within the meadow such as toad flax, mallow, yarrow, vetch, clover and scabious. Take the browning vegetation off to about 5-10cms. Once you have cleared the cuttings give the area a really good water. Within days you are likely to see the whole area green up again and flowering will continue until your final maintenance cut in the Autumn.

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If your wildflower meadow starts to look brown/scruffy, simply give it a high cut.

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Final Yearly Maintenance Cut

Whether you have decided to make maintenance cuts earlier in the year or not, you will always need to do a final maintenance cut for the year in late summer/ early autumn after the wildflowers have set and shed their seed. This cut is essential for the health of the meadow, not only does it tidy up the area for the winter but it stops the senesced summer growth from covering the growing plant in a layer of rotting green material. If this material isn’t removed it will act as a barrier for the regrowth of the parent plant and also reintroduce a level of nutrients that is best avoided. An open sward over the winter ensures healthy, disease free plants which can benefit from what light and warmth is available to them during these months. If you have not cut the meadow previously in the year you will find that some of the stems are dry and tough, making it more difficult to cut.

Once cleared you will find that your meadow starts to grow again although how much regrowth will depend on the time of the cut, soil fertility, moisture levels and the weather. This is because some species will be quick to utilise any freshly created space, thus taking advantage of the new opportunity that they have been given. Allowing the meadow a chance to green-up ready for the winter is a good idea before it then becomes dormant with little or no growth through the winter. When spring approaches, the wildflowers are in the perfect position to develop quickly and repeat their perennial cycle thus guaranteeing a wildflower meadow year after year.

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After depleting nutrients and reducing grass content, this meadow was allowed to flourish more impressively in its second year.

TOP TIPS FOR FINAL YEARLY MAINTENANCE CUT:

  • When planning your maintenance cut, choose a dry day, you will find it lighter and cleaner to clear the cuttings.
  • Be thorough with your clearance. The aim is to deplete nutrient levels to continue to keep the wildflower to be competitive and limit grasses and nutrient loving plants such as fat hen and docks. Rotting material left on site will also be a haven for pests such as slugs.
  • When clearing the area with a rake, it is fine to treat the ground and plants roughly, this will pull out any thatched material and provide light and air to the roots. The plants are hardy and will not be affected by some tough love.
  • Do take care, especially for amphibians within your meadow. A staggered cutting program will help – cutting half the area one day and then delaying the second half for a week or two will allow fauna to migrate to the uncut area. By the time of the second cut, the first cut area will have some regrowth to provide a beneficial habitat.
  • If you are using the cuttings for compost and they feel particularly dry, give them a soaking as they will break down better with moisture.
  • As a final tidy up a good rake is worthwhile, or a quick and easy option is to run a rotary mower with collectors over the area.
  • Once you have completely cleared the area you may find bare patches. These are perfectly acceptable. They may look unsightly for a little while, but the chances are there is something dormant underground waiting to get going again in the spring. If you do want to enhance the area with plugs you can use this sort of area to plant in as there will be less competition.
  • Be vigilant with leaf and fruit removal after your Autumnal cut. It will be much easier once you have removed the senesced meadow material to clear falling leaves but do not leave them to rot down and add nutrients to the soil or provide a potential risk of disease.

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Cutting and removing, using an Amazone Profihopper.

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Mown tight and ready for the winter

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Flourishing again the following June.

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A Garden Inspired by History

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Today marks 801 years since Magna Carta. A magnificent garden was created last year to celebrate the 800th anniversary.

Patricia Thirion and Janet Honour from A Touch of France Garden Design used the historic peace treaty between unpopular King John of England and a group of rebel barons to create a quintessential medieval garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year. Magna Carta, Latin for “the Great Charter” is a charter agreed at Runnymede in June 1215, first drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Magna Carta is considered one of the most significant political documents in English history, due to its influence on English law in subsequent centuries.

Law. Liberty. Legacy.

Three of the key principles of the Magna Carta are inscribed on a slice of historic yew tree trunk at the front of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Magna Carta garden. The slice of Yew was inscribed to relate to Magna Carta, with a link to the 2000 years old Ankerwicke yew growing near Runnymede meadow. It was placed in the front of the garden surrounded by wildflowers, supplied by Wildflower Turf.11181873_892499950791538_8524406085651532424_n

The Magna Carta garden was relocated in June 2015 to the grounds of the Runnymede-On-Thames hotel, facing the meadow where it is open to the public.

If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket for the unique garden experience at the Runnymede-On-Thames hotel on 20th June, you’ll get the chance to see the Magna Carta garden for yourself. Janet and Patricia from A Touch of France will also be sharing their stories on RHS Chelsea Flower Show and ideas for getting the most out of your garden at home.

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Making an Urban Scene Green

Last Spring, a park was created in London for the first time in one hundred years.

3,850m² of a mixture of Wildflower Landscape Turf and Shade Tolerant Turf was taken to Greenwich Peninsula, to be installed by Gavin Jones. Alys Fowler teamed up with Thomas Hoblyn (clients: Knight Dragon), to create a biodiverse setting in an urban area. Not only did they use Wildflower Turf to create serene meadows on the banks, they installed boxes for bee keeping, apple trees and wild herbs. This project is a prime example of a state-of-the-art urban area introducing a more environmentally-friendly atmosphere to welcome all kinds of nature for the public to engage with.

The area was challenging, due to not only having high foot-traffic, but also containing contaminated soil and steep mounds, making installation on the banks complex. In this situation, the easiest option would have been to install lawn turf, however, Alys was determined to introduce biodiversity into the project, so wildflowers were the chosen solution.

The wildflowers flourished magnificently, despite the area having heavy public use at the opening event shortly after installation. We visited the site a year on to find the wildflowers still thriving. The contrast between the prominent architectural framework against the sculpted green mounds and wildflower banks creates the most phenomenal setting.

Greenwich Peninsula in 2015

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Greenwich Peninsula in 2016

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The Queen of Herbs Returns to RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Modern-Apothecary-Garden-2Jekka McVicar, highly acclaimed organic gardening expert, is appearing once again at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week with a Main Avenue Show Garden featuring Wildflower Turf. The unique Show Garden, which will be relocated to St John’s Hospice at the end of the show, was created with an aim to inspire today’s visitor and to ensure that the history, culinary and medicinal usage of herbs are not lost for future generations. Not only is the garden an excellent resource for plant identification but also a gastronomic delight for anyone interested in good food, as it displays the largest collection of culinary herbs in the UK.

stjohn_1-large_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumA“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

50m² of our Wildflower Shade Tolerant Turf has been used for Jekka’s tranquil project, to reinforce one of the main purposes of the project, which is to create a place of quiet reflection. The vibrancy and serenity of the wildflowers will perfectly match the purpose of Jekka’s creation. The garden will seek to highlight the important relationship between medicine and nature while providing rehabilitation to the senses.

A big congratulations to Jekka for winning Silver-Gilt and also to Peter Clay from Crocus, who once again has sourced such beautiful plants for this award-winning garden.

If you’re at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week, don’t miss out on this inspiring Show Garden, ‘A Modern Apothecary’ designed by Jekka McVicar.

Jekka McVicar“Plants can survive without us but we and this planet cannot survive without plants.”

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Creating a Buzz at Kew this Summer

Wolfgang Buttress Render by Day SM  The journey of the British bee will be brought to life this summer at Kew Gardens when the award winning Hive installation from the 2015 Milan Expo, is relocated to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Hive was the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion at last year’s global event in Milan and stood as a visual symbol of the pollinators’ role in feeding humanity and the challenges facing bees today. It will fulfil a similar role at Kew, hoping to show visitors how they can make a difference to the life of bees with a multi-sensory experience, including architecture, science, music and wildflower landscapes.

Visitors will be drawn into The Hive via a lush and vibrant wildflower meadow that Wildflower Turf Ltd are delighted to be growing for Kew Gardens. Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum and Horticultural Services at Kew, has been making regular visits to Wildflower Turf Ltd to discuss the different types of wildflower products to be used and check on their progress. A mix of Landscape Turf and Border Turf will be used within the surrounding garden with a mix of bright annuals and native perennial wildflowers. This area is likely to be under planted with summer flowering bulbs for extra impact.

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The story of pollination will continue to come alive for visitors throughout Kew, from seeing the seasonal array of sumptuous fruit and veg in Kew’s Kitchen Garden, to basking in the British summer on a Pollination Trail across the gardens. Individual beehives, housing honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees will take up home in the Gardens, enabling visitors to understand the inner workings of a hive, while the summer holidays will be filled with hands on activities for all ages. Thousands of flickering LED lights will bring the 17 metre high structure to life, reflecting bee activity within the hive and making it a wonderful place to visit at dusk with a honey infused cocktail in hand.

James Hewetson-Brown, Managing Director at Wildflower Turf Ltd says “We are delighted to have been asked to grow the meadow to surround this magnificent structure by Wolfgang Buttress – it really will be a sight to behold this summer for wildflower and bee enthusiasts. More importantly, it offers the chance for visitors to reconnect with nature and understand in detail why looking after our pollinators is so important and hopefully encourage even more people to consider bees when designing and planting gardens and amenity landscapes. It is a great honour to be working with Kew Gardens on such a prestigious project.”

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The Hive’s official opening date to the public is Saturday 18th June. You can book your tickets in advance at the Kew Garden Visit booking site.IMG_3328 Resized & Edited

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Changing Public Perception with Wildflowers

A CASE STUDY – TRANSFORMING A NEGLECTED AREA

The Borough of Kings Lyn and West Norfolk wanted to transform an area that had been neglected over the years and subsequently blighted with anti-social behaviour. They wanted to find a solution to this overgrown site to encourage the local residents back into the adjoining park and change public perception of this area that had developed a bad reputation amongst the wider community.

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After compulsory purchasing the land, the project clean-up and clearance was managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, due to otters, water vole and many other species that lived within the area. It was decided that by introducing a high impact wildflower display, the creation of a pictorial meadow would positively change the way people feel about the area. The council went about researching the best way to establish wildflowers to create quick but long lasting results.

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THE WORK

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust set up volunteer days and carefully cleared the very overgrown area. After clearance the site was treated with an application of glyphosate and any further material raked off the surface a couple of weeks later. No further ground preparation was required as the council had decided to use Wildflower Earth®, a pre-seeded growing medium that is simply spread over the sprayed off area without the need for rotovation. Within the Wildflower Earth® was a mix of high impact annuals, (to ensure a strong show of colour in the first year) and perennial wildflowers.

THE RESULTS

The results are clear to see from a visual perspective but benefits go far beyond aesthetics. The Borough Council reported a very positive change in the public’s reaction to the area. Whilst the land has been tidied up, it still provides a beneficial habitat for many different forms of wildlife, as well as being a magnet for pollinators. The meadow then required just one maintenance cut at the end of the flowering season, allowing the area to green-up and over winter as the perennials take over the following year.

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KEY FACTS ABOUT WILDFLOWER EARTH IN AMENITY AREAS

This project is a classic example of the way wildflowers can engage and enthuse people. In a community area, involving a volunteer group can win hearts and minds and give a sense of ownership with a far greater likelihood of long term success for the meadow. It is acceptable that plants take time to flower, but it mustn’t take too long and the establishment phase must work first time. If not, enthusiasm quickly wains and an opportunity is lost. In this case using a mix of annuals and perennials in a pre-seeded growing medium (Wildflower Earth®) was the perfect solution. Wildflower Earth® provides an accurate seed rate in a growing medium blended to provide exceptional levels of seed and establishment. The results are considerably better than conventional methods of seeding flowers. Annuals offer a reliable first season flush of vibrant colour as the perennials establish to create a longer term display in years to come. The installation of meadows to public green spaces also results in lower man hour input and subsequent long term benefits to maintenance budgets.

This is just a small insight into how the pioneering products of Wildflower Turf Ltd can transform public spaces and are rapidly becoming a multi-faceted solution to amenity landscapes. This wonderful case study from Kings Lyn and West Norfolk Borough Council typifies many of the brilliant projects that we are working on up and down the country with local authorities and other guardians of our parks and green spaces.

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Open Days at Wildflower Turf in aid of The Greenfingers Charity

This summer we will be holding two open days in July where you are warmly invited to come and visit the Wildflower Turf farm. Our open days have always been popular for wildflower enthusiasts and  particularly useful for those that are creating wildflower areas as part of their work, be it garden design, landscaping, maintenance of parks and green spaces or even the development of wildflower roofs. Open Day 2 Wildflower Turf Ltd are the UK’s leading dedicated wildflower specialist and have pioneered products that provide instant, guaranteed meadows. Since our involvement in the 2012 Olympics and other high profile landscapes and gardens including the winning RHS Chelsea show garden with Dan Pearson last year, public interest in wildflower meadows is at an all time high. Our open day helps debunk the myths surrounding wildflower meadow creation and will help inform you of the possibilities and perhaps inspire you to create wildflower areas.

Open Day

We have set aside two dates in July. Each morning will comprise of very similar content but we have decided to try and add information and case studies that are particularly relevant to the two main sectors that we work with.

  • 1st JULY – Wildflowers in Public Spaces – Public Sector Organisations and Landscape Architects
  • 7th JULY – Creating Wildflower Spaces in Domestic Gardens – Garden Designers and Landscapers

The morning starts at 9:30am and will end at about 1pm, comprising of an introduction to wildflowers and their role in landscapes, talking through the design and specification process, site preparation, installation and maintenance requirements including mowing regimes. There will then be specific case studies to illustrate how wildflowers have been used in certain settings particularly relevant to your work.

There will be a closer look at our Wildflower Earth product that is revolutionizing wildflower installments, particularly for larger projects and public spaces. A tour of the turf beds and various trial sites  is a real treat in summer when the wildflowers are at their very best. There is so much to see to demonstrate our products in different situations, from roofs to embankments, shady areas to large scale meadows and all followed by a Q and A session with tea and cake.

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Whilst the open day is free it is really important to register your interest, we assume it will be popular. We also will need to know how many cakes to bake!! This year we are delighted to be supporting the Greenfingers Charity.

Greenfingers is  dedicated to supporting the children with their families, who use hospices around the UK, by creating inspiring gardens for them to relax in and enjoy. The charity is dedicated to creating beautiful, well-designed outdoor spaces for their visitors, whether through play and fun, or therapeutic rest and relaxation.  To date Greenfingers has created 49 inspiring gardens and outdoor spaces in hospices around the country, and has a further waiting list of hospices that want to create similar projectsAfter the open morning, if you have enjoyed your visit we will be asking you to make a voluntary donation or even sign up to help on a garden project in a hospice near you.

8? strawberry sponge cakeReserve your place by calling Sandrine on 01256 771222, quoting the date that you would like to attend with your contact details so that we can send you additional information.

We look forward to welcoming you in July.

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTONwww.stphotos.co.uk07778 334771

 

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Border Turf – A vibrant and impactful Wildflower Turf Product

What is Border Turf?

Our Border Turf was originally developed for domestic gardens, where it could be used to replace existing borders and flower beds with a low maintenance alternative that was colourful and long flowering. As the demand for wildflower landscapes has increased dramatically for more public landscapes and amenity areas such as parks, roundabouts and verges, the Border Turf has become increasingly popular as a cost effective solution where bedding plants and bulbs would have traditionally been used on mass for an impactful display in urban and semi rural areas.

It is probably helpful to briefly explain how it differs to our Landscape Turf. As well as having the 34 native varieties found in our Landscape Turf, it has 15 further species of wildflowers that provide greater vibrancy in colour with a longer flowering period into September. There are a number of annuals in the mix that ensure a strong show of colour in the first year of laying as the perennials establish themselves and develop into larger plants.

The following pictures are examples of Border Turf in the Spring Months

3.3d. Border turf and bulbs

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The following pictures are examples of Border Turf from June to August.

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The picture below was taken in October, showing how the annuals, given the right conditions will flourish much later into the year. 

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As you can see, the resultant display is ever changing through the seasons, with the meadow flowering from late April to September. There will always be different plants that respond better to different conditions and soils but Border Turf is suitable for any soil type and is particularly drought tolerant and can cope with semi-shade.

Border Turf is a stock item and available to lay all year round. Just as the Landscape Turf, it is a soil-less mat of wildflowers, easy to handle and lay, providing an excellent weed suppressing barrier to any weed seeds that are inherent in the prepared ground. The Border Turf is very quick to establish and will provide you with a vibrant display of wildflowers in the first year of laying.

We currently have plenty of stock available, call our sales team on 01256 771222 for pricing and delivery options.

 

With thanks to Souren Ala – Dynamic Gardens, Slate Grey Design, A Garden For All Seasons, Bluestones Garden Design for the use of their lovely pictures.

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