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.

Open Day_GrasslandTrust_May12 016 Garden Designers Guild visit 8.6.09 (1)

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

A garden for all seasons 1

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. 

 Bluestones

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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10 Reasons To Create A Wildflower Meadow

Are you considering a wild area in your garden, do you love the idea of being submerged in wildflowers this summer. If a wildflower meadow is a possible garden project for 2016, let Wildflower Turf convince you why it should be on top of your list.

1. Species biodiversity. The wonderful thing about a wildflower meadow is that it is an ever changing picture with new species to spot each week through the Spring and Summer. Our landscape turf has 34 different species of native wildflowers and it is great to get to know them all as they appear through the spring and summer months.

marlborough 3 26th may

2. A wildlife haven. From the tiniest flying insects to colourful butterflies and moths, from larks and finches to barn owls and red kites your meadow will become home to a major food source for a wide range of wildlife. Pollinators such as wild bumble bees, moths, butterflies, wasps, beetles, hoverflies as well as honey bees have faced serious difficulty over the last 100 years with habitat loss, pesticides and the depletion of nectar sources. Without them, our £210bn per year food industry would be in serious difficulty, as well as our gardens and countryside looking far less beautiful.  By adding an area of wildflower into your garden you are providing a rich and essential food source for pollinators and have the reward of seeing pretty winged insects come into your garden.  

Hare 2

3. Garden Design Opportunities. Whether you live in a smaller urban garden or rambling rural retreat a wildflower area provides all sorts of design opportunities. The juxtaposition of sharp paved or mown lines with the wispy nature of the wildflower is perfect in town gardens and roofs. Whilst in rural areas a meadow can be a linking tool from kept borders to fields, or in areas of a garden where other species might find it more difficult to grow, being drought tolerant and requiring low nutrients, a wildflower meadow will survive on the most barren of land. Let you imagination run wild.

Meadow&Seat low res

4. Colour. If colour is your thing then annuals and non-native wildflowers are likely to excite you. With a fantastic array of bold vibrant colour, our Border Turf will be just up your street. You can expect a wildflower rainbow from April to September.

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5. Low Maintenance – If you are having trouble with an existing area of a garden, an area to big to manage, an area too nutrient starved to grow much, or an area infested with weeds, then a wildflower meadow could solve your problems. Apart from the initial preparation of the soil, which means ridding it from weeds and creating a light tilth, there is little more that will be needed over the year. The turf is very quick to establish, requires no further input in the way of fertiliser, if laid in the summer it might require a small amount of watering in but it is particularly drought tolerant and the dense root bed of the Wildflower Turf also acts as weed prevention, virtually impossible for weeds to penetrate through.

Are you spending hours in the summer mowing lawns, fed up of walking up and down in straight lines? Did you know that a wildflower meadow only requires one mow a year, normally in the Autumn time, clearing all of the arisings so as not to allow rotting material to re-nutrify the soil.

6. Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas emissions. Wildflower areas in urban environments have been found to offer the most optimum green structure for pollution removal. Different leaf forms provide a more complex surface so capturing a wider range of pollutant types. They have the potential for a net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Reduced mowing, fertizlisation, pesticide and herbicide treatments of wildflower areas will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution associated with these practices.

7. Quick, Guaranteed Results with Wildflower Turf. If you want quick results and be able to sit back and enjoy a low maintenance, wildlife haven this year then Wildflower Turf can guarantee you a meadow very quickly. The bare root bed of the turf establishes incredibly quickly onto prepared soil and if you were to lay wildflower turf in March or April you would certainly be  sat in a glorious meadow by May.The images below show a turf installation in late April with results by the end of July.

Photo 24-03-2015, 09 37 07 Photo 02-07-2015, 07 17 54

8. Cost. The management of wild flower areas is estimated to be half the cost of a non-wild flower managed alternative. Being drought tolerant and low nutrient loving – wildflowers require very little in the way of inputs such as irrigation and fertiliser. The greatly reduced requirement for mowing means there is saving in time but also petrol required for your mower. And finally, once you have created a meadow, there is no requirement for replanting, it is truly a sustainable landscape that can be in existence for as long as it is wanted.

9. Happy Customers for years to come – a long term landscape solution. Whether you are developing a wildflower area yourself or creating a meadow for a client, then you will be safe in the knowledge that Wildflower Turf is a solution that works. It can be laid at any time of the year except when there is ground frost,  it is really quick to establish and will give you immediate green cover on bare soil. It is a natural weed suppressant and will require little input from you over the years. We first laid Wildflower Turf around an irrigation lake over 10 years ago. The pictures below shows how it looked after 6 weeks of laying. The children in the picture were then 6 and 4. They are now 18 and 16, less keen to be in the 2015 picture, but it shows you what incredible longevity a wildflower meadow has, with minimal input and maximum biodiversity, wildlife and feel good factors.

DCF 1.0

 

Lake after 10 years

10. Tranquility, peace and quiet and sense of mental well-being. There is nothing like sitting among the wildflowers, submerged in their beauty. We now know for sure that there are huge benefits to being within beautiful green spaces, providing long term benefits to mental health.

Angus Thompson Design East Riding (2)

If you need any more persuasion, why not seek out your local wildflower expert. We have over 200 Accredited Wildflower Installers throughout the country. They are listed on our Installer Pages and are fully trained in the preparation, installation and maintenance of our full range of products. Using our postcode search tool you can find a selection of installers that are close by.

Make it the year of wildflower meadows and in so doing, give one of the biggest charitable donations you could possibly make to nature and the natural environment.

 

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Shade Tolerant Wildflower Turf – A wildflower solution for shady areas

In 2011, whilst creating bespoke wildflower mixes for the 2012 Olympic site, we were asked to create a special wildflower mix suitable for tree lined, shaded areas. 4 years on and the shady meadows in the East Village are healthy and colourful with a good mix of species and biodiversity.

Shade Tolerant Wildflower Turf install Athletes VillageShade tolerant Wildflower Turf AV 3 yr after install (4)

Following the Olympics, we knew that the creation of a shade tolerant wildflower mix would be an important development for our landscaping clients. Wildflower Turf conducted research with Hillier Arboretum, trialling a number of different mixes within their tree nurseries, in order to provide a shade tolerant Wildflower Turf as a stock product. To look at the species mix within the Turf follow the link: Shade Tolerant Wildflower Turf

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It isn’t just the lack of light that causes problems in tree lined areas, other considerations for shaded areas include:

  •  Canopy lifting before laying the turf. This will increase the light available to the plants and can be a healthy option for the trees.
  • Leaving an area clear around the base of isolated trees or clumps of trees is sensible and allows for mulching which also improves the growing conditions of the trees and in an orchard, gives easy access for picking fruit!
  • Having a clear area at the base of the trees also makes the annual wildflower maintenance cut much easier and helps to protect the bark at the base of the tree against overzealous strimming!
  • Mature trees not only provide shade, they will also have an impact on the surrounding soil conditions by removing high levels of nutrients as well as moisture. Poor soil isn’t a problem for wildflowers but moisture levels can be, particularly when the meadow is first establishing.
  • Leaf litter and fruit can also be problematic in the autumn and must be cleared to avoid impact on the health of the wildflowers.

Our trials have led to the selection of the best species mix for optimum colour, biodiversity and longevity. Essential to the success of our Shade Tolerant products was the establishment of an optimum management regime for wildflowers in shaded areas to ensure that both the wildflowers and trees are given the best chance of success.

These management techniques are discussed during our Accreditation Training Days for landscapers and are integral to the success of shaded wildflower meadows.

Our Shade Tolerant Wildflower Mix is available as both a Wildflower Turf® and Wildflower Earth™. The turf can be laid at any time throughout the year other than in frost and snow. Wildflower Earth™ is best suited to Spring or Autumn installations. Continued research and development has enabled us to develop a number of bulb mixes that will complement the area with early season colour, both in shaded and open areas. These bulbs are generally installed in the autumn, but this is very easy to do at the time of laying the turf. Whilst this wildflower turf mix has been specifically designed to be installed around high shaded areas, boosting it with plugs can improve species diversity even further and this was implemented in certain areas of the Athletes Village. The turf has been developed by the company using its unique ‘soil-less’ system that is more drought tolerant than other more conventional methods. The turf has a wider selection of flowers, 41 different species, with a minimum of 75% wildflowers.

P 21 Shade Tolerant

To produce this environmentally beneficial product, every effort is made to source sustainable ingredients, for example composted green waste and organic nutrients, as well as carefully monitoring all inputs such as electricity and water. The turf naturally produces a bio-diverse habitat supporting birds, mammals, bees, butterflies and other invertebrate species.

Wildflower Turf - Shade Tolerant Turf - Sustainable Lifestyles

Shade Tolerant Wildflower Turf and Shade Tolerant Wildflower Earth are stock products and deliverable to site with 48 hour turnaround. Call our sales team for further information. To obtain a quote you will need the approximate area you require in m² and the postcode for delivery.

Call us on 01256 771222.

 

 

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Creating Show Gardens and Film Sets using Wildflower Turf

The RHS Shows throughout the summer months are the font of inspiration for many of us and as we oooh and ahh at the amazing designs and the seamless planting on display it is difficult to imagine the work and the sleepless nights that go into creating perfection on what is usually a very small plot.

As naturalistic design, gardens for wildlife and low maintenance gardens are still very much de rigour,  we continue to help garden designers bring their plans to life by offering a solution, that even though it may have only been planted a couple of days earlier, can look like a scheme that has been in situ for years.

At Wildflower Turf we are well known for providing a solution for show gardens and film sets, that can immediately look like an established meadow. This blog aims to help you, the designer or contractor, to specify and install our turf to successfully create the look that has been envisaged in the design.

TYPES OF SHOW TURF

We have had requests for all sorts of show turf from our classic perennial landscape turf to muddy grass to adorn cat walks inspired by festival chic. We try and be as accommodating as possible but the reality is, it’s all about timing. If you want something grown specifically, our bespoke mixes require a minimum order of 400m² and if required before June, growing of the turf will need to have started in the previous Autumn.

If your order is much smaller and likely to be a mix that is within our existing product range then there is much more flexibility. Every year we designate a number of beds to show turf. This means that it is left to grow on, with a careful eye from us to ensure it looks its very best and provide an instant meadow look. This is generally good news for shows from June onwards but if you are at RHS Chelsea in May you may risk a wet or cold spring not having provided you with adequate growth. Having said that, Dan Pearson’s Gold Medal winning garden used turf straight from our beds in May last year and provided him with just the right amount of colour and height. If you require show turf after the end of July, again we would advise you to grow immature turf on in a polytunnel as the turf on the beds will be at the end of its natural flowering season.

GROW IT ON YOURSELF

When your show is earlier in the year, our normal advice to the contractor would be to take the turf rolled, at least a month in advance in order to grow it on in a polytunnel. With a small amount of heat and water you will have about 30-40cms of growth within 4 weeks. Using heat pads underneath the turf will give it an even bigger boost. By taking the turf rolled from us, delivery costs are kept low.

As an example, Sparshalt College took turf from our turf beds on April 21st last year.

Show Turf Bed - April

The turf was put into an unheated glasshouse, with regular watering. 20 days later the turf looked like this and was perfect to be used at RHS Chelsea.

Show Turf Grown On Show Turf 2

WILDFLOWER SHOW TURF STRAIGHT FROM THE TURF BED

When taking grown on turf directly from us to site, you will need to think carefully about delivery and installation. The turf needs to be transported on a flat bed, if rolled the plants will be damaged. A flat bed capacity on an arctic is 40m². If you need more turf, you will require a stacked transport system such as stillages or dutch trollies. Transportation costs can therefore be expensive. Most contractors come to pick up their turf themselves. Ideally the turf should be laid onto site the same day, but if watered daily, it would be fine for a couple of days before reaching the intended spot.

 

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TIMING IS KEY

With only a set amount of turf designated, if you are planning to use Wildflower Turf it is essential to pre-order your turf so that we can monitor its growth and make sure it is at its best for when you want it. Knowing when you can get on site to plant your show garden is just as important as the show date.

DECIDING WHICH TYPE OF TURF IS RIGHT FOR YOU

If you know the look that you want to create but are not sure which would be the right product, give us a call and maybe send a picture of the design and we can let you know what would work best. The most obvious choices being whether or not you want native or non-native varieties. The timing of the show will also impact the look of the meadow. Each wildflower has different flowering times. For native wildflowers, in May, the meadow will naturally look quite pink with campion and ragged robin dominating. As we move into June, white and yellow become the more dominant colours with ox eye daisies, wild carrot and yarrow.

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Non-natives will obviously provide more colour through the season and still likely to be flowering through July and August.

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WINNING MEADOWS

Whilst gold medal winning gardens are dependent on outstanding design and exemplary execution, we know that our turf provides the look of a meadow that is well established and thriving and is well known for picking up awards at the highest level. Using Wildflower Turf takes away the stress of planting individual plants saving you time on site whilst creating a very natural look. If you want to add an extra dimension to the meadow area you can use the turf as a base canvas and plug areas with particular flowering species that are relevant to the design. A few plugs can make a significant difference to the look and if there are any plants that are definitely wanted, having plugs in the wings as insurance is a good idea.

Chelsea 14

Dan Pearson 6

 

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Launching the 2016 Wildflower Turf Accredited Installer Training Dates

Do you want to offer your clients instant wildflower meadows?

Would you like to join our growing team of accredited installers?

There has never been a better time to offer wild flower landscapes to your customers. Our specialist training will provide you with the latest methods and product knowledge for successful wild flower installations. As an accredited partner you will be eligible for substantial price discounts on the full range of our Wildflower Turf and Earth products meaning you can GUARANTEE the lowest prices to your customers.

A full day of training with both practical workshops and presentations at our headquarters in Overton, Hampshire; you will leave feeling inspired and excited about the opportunities for your landscape business.

Following your training you will be added to our Installer database that is accessible via our website to all who want to find specialist wild flower installers throughout the UK and you will be offered on-line and offline marketing support to help promote your new skills to your existing and new clients.

This year we are expanding the training programme and have dates available in April and June. The course takes place in Hampshire and we can offer advice on travel and accommodation for those of you who have further to come. We hope to grow our network of installers throughout all areas of the UK as demand for wildflower meadows continues to grow.

The price of the course is £199 + VAT but if you book and pay before March 1st you will receive our early bird discount, taking £25 off the price.

Available Training Dates

  • 7th or 14th April
  • 2nd or 9th June

‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’, as they say and there is no better way to show you just how fantastic our products are than to show you projects from last year. Meadows designed and installed within a matter of months.

From this….

5 a. Before the works

to this….

5c. Mixing hard and soft landscaping5 b. Expansive Meadow

This project was designed by Ann Marie Powell and installed by Garden House Design. The turf was installed in April 2015. The after shots were taken in July 2015, a meadow now in full bloom and looking like it had been there forever.

Debs Winrow at Garden House Design described using Wildflower Turf as ‘the bow on the bouquet, the finishing touch that is of huge commercial importance to their business’. Using Wildflower Turf enables them to walk away from a garden build project, safe in the knowledge that a gardener can easily maintain their creation and there is little risk of failure of the planting.

If you would like more information on the Accredited Installer Programme then please speak to our Accreditation Manager – Toby James who can be contacted by phone – 01256 771222. 

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2015 Wildflower Turf Round Up – Meadow Icons

2015 was a very special year at Wildflower Turf for many reasons, but there were 3 projects that really stood out as ‘Meadow Icons’. All were very different, but it is fair to say that each will have had a huge impact on the way in which wildflower meadows are viewed by people from around the world. The messages that these iconic wildflower projects were promoting included the embracing of ‘wilder’ design in gardens and green spaces, the positive effects that wildflower meadows can have on health and well-being and the importance of wildflowers as a food source for our pollinators, that in turn help to sustain food resources for our global population.

First up is the RHS Chelsea 2015 ‘Best in Show’.

The return of Dan Pearson to RHS Chelsea was eagerly awaited, with his interpretation of the Paxton gardens at the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire. Dan has always been known for his ‘wild’ gardens and has long been the flag bearer for garden design inspired by nature. It was therefore with great excitement that we accepted the challenge to grow a native wildflower turf for this particular project.

With just 6 days to go before the show the site was finally ready to receive the turf. As with the Olympic Opening Ceremony, the only way to transport the turf was on stillages, allowing the contractors to lay directly onto site without damaging the meadow.

CElbv4dWYAAgxldThe turf was laid in a week of full sun and required constant watering to bed in, but within 6 days the turf looked perfect with plenty of campion and ragged robin flowering at just the right moment. The wildflower turf formed the basis for large sections of the garden with plug plants such as the candelabra primula (Primula ‘Inverewe’) and aconite buttercup (Ranunculus Aconitifolius) looking at home in the mix.

Chelsea 14

Undoubtedly to bring a show garden of this magnitude together in such a short period of time is not for the feint hearted and the attention to detail was breath-taking with the Crocus team working tirelessly to get the garden to perfection. The result of Dan Pearson’s passion for naturalism and his skill as a designer inspired this meeting point of nature and horticulture and a garden on the wild side, even though it was entirely man-made. He hoped that by stepping into this garden you felt closer to nature and without a doubt you did. It is the balance of macro and micro design that leads to outstanding gardens. The macro view with the huge boulders forming the hard landscaping balanced the micro detail that can be seen in the complex communities of wildflowers seen in the smallest six inch square of ground space. This understanding and unending attention to detail resulted in a stand out winner and ‘Best in Show’ at RHS Chelsea 2015.

It was a privilege to be involved in this project and watch the public reaction to something that was far from the normal manicured plots that tend to dominate the garden design world. This was a ground breaking project, placing nature and biodiversity at the top of the list for garden trends in the coming years whilst reinforcing a wider interest and awareness for wildflowers in general. 161,000 people visited the show this year and millions were glued to the coverage on the television.

Dan Pearson 2 Dan Pearson 7 Dan Pearson 6 Dan Pearson 5

 

Providing a ‘wild’ outlook for patients at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

2015 was a year in which there was much publicity about the health benefits of immersing yourself in green spaces. For those less able and with poor health it is often difficult to get out into parks and wilder spaces. When the architects of the new Alder Hey Hospital were planning the building, they asked patients and their families what they would most like to be incorporated within the design. For many, it was to be able to look out onto flowers and have access to nature, and so they came up with a brilliant design incorporating play decks on every level that were surrounded with wildflowers. It is an outstanding project and you can see how the hospital was built on the Alder Hey website.

alder hey balcony

We were asked to grow over 5000m² of a bespoke Wildflower Turf to cover the roof, walls and surrounding area of Alder Hey, working with one of our accredited installers, ABG Geo Synthetics. The turf was laid through the late summer and autumn and so wasn’t flowering at the time of opening in October but we are so excited to see pictures of the play decks in the coming year, when the children are able to finally get up close to nature whilst playing.IMG_0023

Alder Hey October 2015 ii  Alder Hey October 2015  FullSizeRender8    Royal Visit

And finally…the UK Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015

The World Expo 2015 had a core theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. It aimed to highlight one of the most pressing challenges of our time – how to feed and sustain an expected rise in the world’s population to 9 billion by 2050. The UK pavilion created a stand-out Pavilion inspired by the journey of the honey bee, highlighting the vital role of pollination in the global food chain. The UK Pavilion took you on an immersive journey through a British orchard and wildflower meadow, before entering a 14 metre high hive.

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milan 2

Never before had we the opportunity to create a meadow as far south as Milan and also face the challenge of keeping it flowering into October. With clever maintenance cuts and essential watering the meadow looked stunning for 6 months. This was an outstanding project for many reasons. The Pavilion welcomed 3.3 million visitors during the 6 month international exhibition and visited by the top dignitaries from around the world. It was awarded a total of seven different awards on a global scale, but most importantly it won the BIE Gold Award for Architecture and Landscape Design.

This was quite simply an inspirational project, highlighting the importance of our pollinators and pushing that message out to millions of people from around the world.

Pavilion design by Wolfgang Buttress and installed by Stage One.

In the hive   James Visit to milan

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2015 Round Up – Green Infrastructure Projects

In 2015, Wildflower Turf have been involved in a lot of work where we join up the needs of the ecologist, the landscape architect, local authorities and the landscaper/contractor. To understand in more detail the issues that different councils are facing with the development of their parks and green spaces we have worked closely with a number of organisations to develop appropriate solutions and advice on the use of wildflowers. Of particular importance to Green Infrastructure planning right now are:

  • Creating low maintenance areas that require less mowing
  • Increasing biodiversity to help with the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and the National Pollinator Strategy.
  • Demand for more informal space for recreation to promote physical and emotional well-being is increasing
  • Sustainable planting schemes to cope with budget cuts
  • Understanding how best to install wildflower environments that actually work

We are very serious about working alongside councils to create outstanding meadows in public spaces and the following projects highlight the diversity of our work in this area and our ability to provide a solution that fits the brief for all of the interested parties in Green Infrastructure.
 
1. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Stratford East Village

Whilst most of the transformation works were completed in 2013 and 2014, we have still delivered nearly half an acre of wildflower turf to various sites around Stratford and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will continue to do so in 2016. Many of this year’s projects have been smaller and often remedial work where seeding has proved unsuccessful. The wildflower areas created from our turf are always quick to establish and have made a stunning impact in this area and prove how well designed biodiverse green infrastructure has a rightful place in highly populated areas.

Stratford

2. West Norfolk and Kings Lyn

This particular council got in touch to help with a transformation of an amenity area that bordered a housing estate and parkland. The area had built a reputation for anti-social behaviour and the project hoped to change the way people used and also regarded the area. The site had been very neglected and as you can see from the pictures below, required a great deal of clearance that was managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. There were water vole and otters living close to the site and so a sensitive approach was required.

The council chose to use our Wildflower Earth product that is a pre-seeded growing medium, using a mix of annuals and perennial wildflowers. The annuals were used to initially engage the public, knowing that they would create a great deal of impact very quickly. The wildflowers have transformed the area already and both residents and the council have been delighted with the results.

Kettlewell Lane 3 Kettlewell Lane 1 Kings Lyn

3. Hampstead Heath Ponds

Following advice from a government appointed panel engineer, the City of London is undertaking safety works on two chains of ponds on Hampstead Heath. This work will be mitigated by important ecological improvements and will ensure the dams on Hampstead Heath can withstand extreme rainfall events. We have worked with an Ecologist, Dr Meg Game, and Atkins Global to develop a bespoke mix of wildflowers and grass appropriate for flood alleviation. The first lot of turf has been laid and a further 2 acres of species rich turf with a variety of seed mixes will be placed on site in 2016.

 

BAM Nuttall 3 9.7.15

The first 400m² was delivered in Autumn and we are currently growing a further 2 acres of turf for this ecologically sensitive project and look forward to showing off the results later in 2016.

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4. Dorset County Council – Reducing Maintenance Costs

Dorset approached us to help with a project to reduce maintenance costs and disruption to traffic on a variety of sites, including a wide verge they have on a busy road leading into Wimborne. To minimise work involved in preparation, a simple spray off was all that was required. The application of earth was spread over the treated area and within a couple of months a mass of colour was produced with a vibrant native and non-native mix of wildflowers. The feedback was incredibly positive, sparking letters from the public to the council and newspaper reports, proving what a difference wildflowers can make to the  sense of well being of the local population.

Dorset CC Border Earth BEFORE (1)    Dorset CC Border Earth BEFORE (5)     Dorset CC Border Earth BEFORE (7)

Dorset CC Border Earth AFTER (3)

5. Guerilla Gardening at Marlborough Waterfront

What a joy it has been getting to know the Marlborough Waterfront Association this year, a group of residents led by the brilliant Val Compton,  who have taken a plot of land into their own hands to create an attractive waterside meadow for all to take pleasure in.

Val told me how she had followed council landscape teams around Marlborough, collecting unwanted plants from amenity displays as they replenished displays, re-potting them and then selling them in a table top sale, thus collecting funds to pay for the meadow enhancements. I think this was an ingenious idea and one that could be replicated up and down the country. She has also harnessed funds from corporates who look to donate to worthy green projects. It really is a brilliant example of a community caring and making a real difference to the place that they live. Whilst just a small area, it has created a very important habitat for water voles and the team of volunteers have been instumental in achieving an ‘Outstanding’ certificate from the South West Britain in Bloom judges.

Congratulations from us on a wonderful project, one which other Guerilla Gardeners should look to replicate up and down the country.

Marlborough 7 14th Arpil  Marlborough 8 14th April

marlborough 3 26th may

17a. July 2nd 2015

6. Poole Council

We were delighted to be involved in the redevelopment of Haskells Recreation Ground, to transform a neglected park in Poole. The project was to encourage better usage of the area, stop fly-tipping, provide opportunity for more adventurous play and create more visual appeal with wildflowers. The meadow has certainly played it’s part in regenerating this area and whilst it is an obvious benefit to many, it really is wonderful to see the photographic evidence of how wildlife, especially butterflies, have flocked to the area.

Poole Haskells meadow 2

  7. Basingstoke Roundabout and Memorial Park

Last year we were delighted to work with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to create a fitting  poppy commemorative display in the Memorial Park. So delighted with the success, we were asked to create similar displays this year, using our Wildflower Earth Bespoke red mix in the park and Wildflower Earth Annual mix on the main roundabout leading to the town centre. We had reports of ladies circling the roundabout 2 or 3 times to get a closer look at the species and colour that could be witnessed. We apologise profusely for any dangerous driving that we may have caused through this fantastic display!!

bas roundabout

War Memorial Park (1)

This is just a small sample of the many landscape projects we have been involved in within public green spaces. It will continue to be a strong focus for us in 2016, as we continue with our work to bring the major stakeholders together in creating sustainable, creative, bio-diverse landscapes in many urban areas up and down the country.

For further advice on using wildflowers within Green Infrastructure projects, speak to our Amenity and Green Spaces specialist, Helen Gillespie Brown on 01256 771222.

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As well as looking at the many successful client projects we have supplied to, we thought you might like to see some of the goings on within the office and on the farm. Here are a few of our personal highlights this year at Wildflower Turf Ltd.

1. New Offices and Training Facilities

In April we moved into our brand new offices along with a brilliant new barn, purpose built for accreditation training, open days and the Christmas party! We have hosted a number of events including a day specifically for those responsible for green infrastructure around the country and we hope to see more councils join us next year to enhance their knowledge on the development of wildflower areas in urban landscapes.

barn

2. Research and Development

We continue to work hard on trialling new products and mixes. This camomile lawn provided lots of interest to our visitors and is an exciting prospect.

camomile

We have been looking into the longevity of non-natives, the pictorial trials were still looking great into September. Our summer bulb trials gave us brilliant results and we are delighted to have them within our bulb range on offer for under-planting wildflower areas to add structure and height. We have done a huge amount of work on maintenance regimes and we are now able to offer our clients a considerable amount of help in determining appropriate methods of maintenance according to meadow site and conditions.

colour  Alliums

3. Exhibitions, Seminars and CPD

We continue to spread the word up and down the country about the benefits and ease of creating wildflower areas. We were delighted to exhibit beyond the confines of the South East and make the journey up North on a number of occasions to meet with new and existing clients as well as speak at the Landscape Live exhibition in Leeds. The CPD programme began this year, providing specialist training for Landscape Architects. It has been incredibly well received, with Helen venturing all over the country to Wales, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Southampton and even Northern Ireland. Glasgow and Teeside beckon in the new year.

      future2   SGD   IMG_0984

4. Fundraising

This year the boys in the team chose to support Prostrate Cancer. We were very proud of their beards in November and delighted to have raised a fantastic £648.

Beards1

5. Turf Manager becomes a Male Model

Trevor has so far had a wonderful career within horticultural but his CV certainly took a brave new turn this year. He now boasts feet, hand and action modelling within a long list of skills and his stomping boots, muddy hands and smiley face will be gracing many a book shelf soon!

  Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 1 (Step by Step Guide Shots) (117 of 158)  Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 1 (Step by Step Guide Shots) (109 of 158)  Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 1 (Step by Step Guide Shots) (106 of 158)  Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 1 (Step by Step Guide Shots) (81 of 158)

6. Revisiting our First Big Meadow Projects

In a busy year it is difficult to find the time to get out of the office to see old clients where meadows have been laid years before, but on a very sunny evening in June it was an absolute pleasure to be able to stroll amongst the wildflowers of meadows we have previously created. Fortunately we took the wonderful Guy Collier with us to capture their beauty with his camera.

Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 3 (Headshots, Burydown and Malshanger) - Low Resolution (74 of 99) Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 3 (Headshots, Burydown and Malshanger) - Low Resolution (87 of 99)Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 3 (Headshots, Burydown and Malshanger) - Low Resolution (59 of 99)

7. Wildlife Spotting at Lunch Times

One of the glorious benefits of working at Wildflower Turf is to take lunch amongst the wildflowers. This particular meadow by the lake is now 13 years old, created with the first turf that we ever produced on the farm. It provides the backdrop for many a lunch hour where we sit and quietly watch butterflies, dragonflies and birds of prey circling above. This year, it became the new home for a family of 6 hares and provided us with the opportunity to practice fast moving camera skills.

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Hare 2 Hare 4

8. New Additions

It was definitely a year of change for us here on the farm with a few new additions as well. We were delighted to welcome David to the production team and Sandrine to the office. And then there were the pups, Phoebe and Waffle joined the team too and whilst their wildflower identification skills still need to be honed, their social media presence has boosted our ratings with the most likes ever for a post!

IMG_0366    waffle

 

It really has been a brilliant year for us at Wildflower Turf Ltd and we would like to thank everyone that we have worked with for making it such a successful and happy year. Have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to  an exciting year ahead in 2016.

 

 

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2015 Round Up – Wildflowers in Domestic Garden Projects

2015 at Wildflower Turf Ltd saw inspired wildflower garden designs from the very best in the business, providing us with some fantastic inspiration for future garden projects. Here are a few of our favourites.

1.Whirlpool of Wildflowers

Designer: Ann Marie Powell

Contractor: Garden House Design

It’s fair to say that when these pictures landed on the desk, they completely blew us away. A completely underused area of a garden, as it was so difficult to manage, became a wondrous whirlpool of wildflowers. Other than a few planted beds around the seating area, the design was almost entirely based around steep banks of wildflowers, creating a stunning oasis of calm and nature. Truly beautiful and we hope an award winner in 2016 for one of our Accredited Installers, Garden House Design.

5d. Stunning creative design

Site before work began.

5 a. Before the works

 

5 b. Expansive Meadow    5c. Mixing hard and soft landscaping   5e. Design close up

 

2. Wild about White

Design and Installation: Hendy Curzon

New to many this year, was our Wildflower Earth product. A pre-seeded growing medium, ideally installed in Spring or Autumn, it is an easy to apply product that requires very little ground preperation and like Wildflower Turf, can see your meadow established within a couple of months. Hendy Curzon are well known for creating stunning large-scale garden schemes, harmonising modern design and natural prairie elements. This particular project used a mix of only white wildflowers within the pre-seeded growing medium. These pictures are the first of this wonderful scheme from the Autumn, using swathes of wildflowers to encourage you to wander through the different areas of the garden. We look forward to featuring a lot more of this project next year and re-visiting this garden in the height of summer.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 12.00.20  IMG_0732

IMG_0565 IMG_0651

3. Informal Formal

Sean McGeachy is an estate manager for a property in Kent and his commitment to creating an informal/formal garden has been another stand out project to witness this year. Using a low performing and under used rose garden, the area was completely transformed to create a wild haven amongst the structure and magnificence of formal topiary and yew hedging. Within 3 months the garden went from mud patch to meadow. Since talking to Sean about enhancements and maintenance, he has now underplanted the meadow with 1000’s of spring bulbs and extended wildflowers into other areas of the garden. We can’t wait to see more of this project next year.

Photo 24-03-2015, 09 37 07 6c Photo 02-07-2015, 07 17 54

4. A colourful, low maintenance solution.

Design and Installation: Bluestones Garden Design

Sara at Bluestones is a wildflower guru, another of our long-standing Accredited Installers and has worked on a number of different projects using our products. This particular client wanted a low maintenance solution with plenty of colour and so opted for our Border Turf. Sara installed 270m² into this garden in Abingdon in July. This picture was taken in mid-October with the area still looking vibrant. I love the simplicity of the wall and the chairs set amongst a sea of pictorial flowers.

Bluestones

5. Immersing a seating area in Wildflower

Design and Installation: Slate Grey

This beautiful, immersive project by Richard Ayles at Slate Grey Design, used a border earth mix (native and non-native wildflowers) installed in mid May. The fleurific picture is taken in early August, just 10 weeks later. Bar a few early problems with deer and rabbits that led to the area having to be fenced off for a while, this meadow was a mass of colour through late summer and early autumn.

Earth Install 3 slate grey image4

And it doesn’t have to be all about inspired garden design to make a difference, in just the smallest areas of garden or verge you can create a green corridor for wildlife and bring a dull area to life.

6. Brilliant Borders

Installer: A Garden for all Seasons

So simple and yet transformative. A boring driveway is transformed from the monoculture of lawn to a wildlife magnet, providing colour, interest and a warm welcome to the house.

A garden for all seasons 2 A garden for all seasons 1

 

7. Difficult to Manage Bank

This has to be the most brilliant use of a bank that we have ever seen in a garden. Normally they are a gardeners headache, so difficult to maintain and uninspiring to look at. Not this one… it just screams ‘Come and Play’.

Slide bank a

8. Wildflower Corridors

And finally… this wildflower roadside verge in Henley has been transformed from a muddy patch outside a newly constructed garden wall. On what can be an otherwise difficult to maintain patch, laying out 10 rolls of Wildflower Border Turf created an instant meadow, with just 2 hours of work. Thanks to Norma and Ken for sharing your picture in Spring this year. If everyone created just a small patch of biodiverse habitat such as this, we would be well on the way to making a huge impact to pollinators across the country.

Verge a

 

I hope there is plenty of inspiration here, whatever your size of garden. If you are planning a wildflower patch for next year it might be worth getting some advice now on how to prepare the area ready for a spring installation. Call us on 01256 771222 should you need some advice. If you are thinking about a larger area, why not take advantage of the expertise of our Accredited Installers. We have 220 trained experts around the country who will be able to offer you the best advice and great prices for preparation and installation of your meadow. Find your local wildflower expert by adding your postcode to our ‘Find an Installer‘ page.

 

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