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.

IMG_8730    IMG_8734

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.

20140624_124612

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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It’s exhibition time…

The start of the Autumn season sees a host of landscaping shows take place up and down the country and it’s our chance to show you are latest products, talk through potential projects and provide you with the best advice on how to create and maintain a successful wildflower meadow. If you are thinking about becoming an Accredited Wildflower Turf Installer, it is also a great time to meet the team and talk through the benefits and training involved to be part of our specialist installer programme.

We will be at the following shows:

16th September – Palmstead Soft Landscaping Workshop, Kent
This is a great workshop with a host of landscaping superstars providing a jam-packed seminar programme focusing this year on sustainable landscapes. The price is just £33 and it is will worth the visit to Ashford International Centre, Kent. James Hewetson Brown, our Managing Director will be manning the stand and available throughout the day for advice and information.

22-23rd September – The Landscape Show, London
A trade exhibition with a packed seminar programme for landscapers and designers. It’s a big show with loads to see incorporating design, product sourcing, build and maintenance. With it being a two day show you will need some sustenance so there will be home-made chocolate brownies to welcome you onto our stand! James and Helen will be manning the stand on Tuesday and Toby and Emma on Wednesday. Free to Register

6th October – Landscape Live, Leeds
We are excited to be venturing ‘Up North’ for the first time to exhibit at this great show hosted by the team at ProLandscaper magazine. Helen will be hosting a seminar on ‘Creating Successful Wildflower Landscapes’ at 10am with a Q and A session to follow. We will have our turf on display for you to take a closer look if you haven’t seen it in the flesh before and a Wildflower Earth demonstration. It is at the iconic Yorkshire County Cricket Club and will be a great day out for landscapers, contractors and designers. Free to Register

17th November – Futurescape, Sandown Park
Back again to end the season with this ever popular exhibition. We will have a full range of products and the whole team on the stand. There will be a packed day of seminars from the crème de la crème of landscapers and industry experts including a talk from James on the landscapers role in successful wildflower projects, ending with the not to be missed ‘View from the Top’ the industry version of Newsnight. We really hope you can make it to this one. Free to Register

Our exhibition team

Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 3 (Headshots, Burydown and Malshanger) - Low Resolution (19 of 99)        Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 3 (Headshots, Burydown and Malshanger) - Low Resolution (17 of 99)

Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 3 (Headshots, Burydown and Malshanger) - Low Resolution (24 of 99)       Wild Flower Turf Company - Day 3 (Headshots, Burydown and Malshanger) - Low Resolution (26 of 99)

Clockwise from top

Helen Gillespie Brown – CPD Trainer and Business Development Manager

James Hewetson Brown – Managing Director

Toby James – Sales Manager and Accredited Installer Programme Manager

Emma Lappin – Marketing and PR

If you are still considering becoming an Accredited Wildflower Turf Installer please act quickly, we have now booked over half the spaces on the course with very limited availability for 1st October. Get in touch for further details below.

 

Creating exemplary wildflower landscapes

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When to mow a meadow?

Once established our Wildflower Turf requires very little maintenance, however, there is one important task to carry out each autumn.

No two meadows will grow in exactly the same way or even at the same rate, with the mix of flowers and grasses that flourish possibly varying year on year. The dry start to Spring saw many meadows not flourish until mid May but with feels like continual rain since July, many meadow are still fairly green. However, whilst your meadow may still have some flower power left you are likely to be thinking about cutting it down if you haven’t already done so.

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTONwww.stphotos.co.uk07778 334771

 

Cutting can be achieved by either using a scythe, hedge trimmer or strimmer and raking the clippings off to compost, or by using a mower and collecting the cuttings as you go. A good motor mower on a high setting would be fine but for larger areas, a professional mower such as a Profihopper is ideal. Which ever method you choose, make sure the tools are sharp and try to minimize trafficking. Cutting the plants back to 1 to 2 inches (25mm to 50mm) in length is a vital part of their life-cycle and ensures that re-growth will continue year on year. The most important part of this maintenance cut is to make sure you take all of the clippings away. In order to control grasses in your meadow, nutrient depletion is vital and any rotting material left on the meadow will only enrich the soil.

DCF 1.0   DCF 1.0

If you have not already done so, the cutting of your meadow should ideally take place over the next month or so when the wildflowers have set and shed their seed. Not only does this tidy up the area for the winter but it stops the senesced summer growth from covering the growing plant in a layer of rotting plant material. An open sward over the winter ensures healthy, disease free plants which can benefit from what light is available to them during these months.You can use your own judgement on exactly when to cut the meadow. If you still have some flowers clinging on to the hope that summer is not yet over, and the bees and insects are still utilising them for a late food crop of nectar, then you may want to leave cutting until perhaps the end of September/beginning of October. This is also beneficial to many invertebrates.

When you do decide to give your meadow its annual cut, it is always advisable to choose a dry sunny day to cut the meadow back. Dry cuttings are easier and cleaner to handle. You may find that your meadow starts to grow again. 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. Most notably the species that you will probably see are plantain, campion, wild carrot, yarrow, sorrel, ox-eye, as well as some grasses. This is absolutely fine, it is the last chance it has to green-up ready for the winter when it will go dormant.

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a larger sized meadow, it is a good idea to cut in stages to be kinder to the wildlife and allow any mammals or insects to translocate to a neighbouring strip, that is left for a month or so longer.

As the spring approaches the wildflowers and grasses are in the perfect position to develop flowers and seed heads quickly to repeat their perennial cycle thus guaranteeing a wildflower meadow year after year.

I hope you have a lovely bank holiday weekend and if it stays fine enough perhaps show your meadow some love. You can always post your pictures on our facebook page, we would love to see any meadow pictures you have.

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Be the very best at delivering wildflower landscapes to your clients.

Wildflower Turf offer an incredible range of products that we know provide landscaping professionals enormous potential to grow their business. In order to maximise  on these opportunities our Accredited Installer scheme offers landscapers fantastic advice, creative solutions and expertise in selling, installing and maintaining wildflower environments, as well as ongoing support from our team. We believe our scheme gives an unrivalled insight and training in how to deliver a guaranteed wildflower environment.

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Why be an Accredited Partner

As an Accredited Partner, landscapers will gain the following key benefits:

  • extensive training in delivering successful wildflower landscapes
  • exclusive discounts on the full range of Wildflower Turf products
  • referrals from Wildflower Turf Ltd for jobs as Accredited Partners
  • access to a dedicated Accreditation Manager from Wildflower Turf Ltd
  • extensive online and offline marketing support to promote your expertise and status

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What will I learn on the course?

The training is spaced over one day and covers many areas of interest including:

  • how the turf is produced
  • the species
  • preparation of site
  • laying the turf – including embankments and roofs
  • establishment of the meadow
  • maintenance
  • creative design with wildflowers
  • biodiversity and conservation issues relevant to your clients
  • costing examples
  • on site tours and practical demos looking at the turf products used in a number of different applications – roof, embankments, wooded areas etc.

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Feedback from previous Accreditation Training

The feedback has been incredible from our newly Accredited Installers and we are sure they are already reaping the benefits from their specialist wildflower environment training.  Just to give you an idea of the feedback that we have had, 100% of accredited members said  the structure and content of the practical sessions was excellent or good, 100% said the structure and content of the presentation sessions was excellent or good and 100% said the course exceeded or met their expectations.

We were particularly interested in how our Accredited Partners rated the benefits that the accreditation provided them with and we were quite surprised with the results. We had assumed that the discounted pricing structure on the turf would be easily the most important benefit but the rankings proved to be different. Most important was increased knowledge, second were the leads and opportunities created by being accredited, third was the technical support offered by our specialist team, and equal fourth was the sales and marketing support and better pricing.

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I am interested, what next?

If you are interested in becoming an Accredited Partner then we would love to hear from you. We are creating a select club of professional landscapers throughout the country that will be fully equipped to offer their clients an informed, creative and trustworthy solution to wildflower landscapes. We intend to have partners located throughout the length and breadth of the UK but it will remain an exclusive group to insure we have just the right amount of landscapers in the different regions.  Please follow the link to let us know of your interest, or get in touch with Toby on 01256 771222 for more information. Accredited Partner Application Form

When are the next courses?

The next accreditation courses will run in this Autumn, dates are 1st, 15th and 22nd October.

If you are a garden designer, landscape architect or contractor  interested in furthering your expertise in wildflower landscapes this course is for you. Do get in touch to find out more, we would love to hear from you.

The cost is £199 + VAT and includes a light lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTON www.stphotos.co.uk 07778 334771PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTONwww.stphotos.co.uk07778 334771

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When Green Roofs go Brown

If you have a wild flower green roof it will probably be looking quite brown and hay like at the moment. You may find it useful to know why this happens seemingly quicker than in a meadow and what you should do to ensure the rooftop can look it’s best again next year.Wildflower Green Roof Browning Off

The first thing to know is that nothing has gone wrong, it should be looking that way at this time of year and if you are considering a wildflower roof it is important for you to take on board that it will look ‘brown’ after flowering and setting seed, until you mow it a little later on in the summer.

Why do the wildflowers die back?

Within a wild flower meadow, individual plants have root systems that are very deep and in some case can access moisture 1-2 metres below the ground. This means that it would take months of dry weather before the meadow looks brown and many species are wonderfully drought tolerant.

On a roof, wildflowers only have access to moisture to the depth of the substrate, for example 10cms,  therefore this has the affect of limiting available moisture. Limiting water will speed up the plant’s life-cycle and encourages the plant to flower and shed seed a lot quicker. This does not mean the plant will die off completely, it will simply shut down until water is available and then rejuvenate itself for the following year. Whilst the ‘brown’ look is not to everyone’s taste it still provides excellent habitat for wildlife, particularly birds and insects, holding far more biodiversity than an irrigated grassy roof or the mono culture of a sedum roof.

Substrate for installation of a wildflower roof.

Wildflowers have high transpiration rates compared to sedum. In order to help maintain moisture levels the substrate is an important consideration. Ideally it should have a high organic matter content to provide a sponge like quality. This will ensure that levels of moisture are maintained for as long as possible. A high organic content will still allow quick drainage during heavy rain, but rather than all the water running down the drain pipe, the water absorbing substrate will release the moisture gradually over the following days and weeks.

How should I maintain the roof?

A dry summer, as we have had, will not give enough water for a wildflower roof to stay lush green so there are two maintenance options.

  • Except the brown vegetation for a while, it requires limited maintenance and is great for wildflower health. The dryness will kill off some of the invasive and dominant grasses and pave the way for stronger wildflowers the following year. Once you decide to do your annual maintenance cut, this will tidy the roof up and  the area should green up within a matter of weeks after a reasonable amount of rainfall.

or

  • Irrigation will give you a very different outcome, keeping the roof green throughout the summer. There are a number of different systems that are available dependent on the size of roof that you have. Water can be added from above by a sprinkler (more time consuming) or below through a drip feed or capillary irrigation system.

Whilst your wildflower roof may look slightly unkempt for a month or two, it is still the richest source of biodiversity for a green roof covering, the most natural looking and beneficial to the environment.

The succession of photos below were taken in 2014 – a wildflower stable roof that was installed 6 years ago. Year after year it comes back to be beautiful again after allowing this browning off period in July and August.

Maintaining a green roof

August 2014

Regrowth of green roof in Autumn

September 2014

Wildflower Green stable roof in snow

January 2015

Wildflower Green Roof Under planted with spring bulbs

April 2015

A wildflower Green roof in Spring

May 2015

A wildflower green roof in summer

June 2015

 

For more information on creating a wildflower roof, speak to Toby at Wildflower Turf 01256 772901.

 

 

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RHS Chelsea 2015 – The making of a ‘Best in Show’ Garden

Tuesday morning, May 19th and it has just been announced that Dan Pearson’s ‘Chatsworth House’ garden has become the RHS Chelsea 2015 ‘Best in Show’. The social media world has been in a frenzy since last week, never before has a garden been so eagerly anticipated. Dan is regarded by many in the landscape world as inspirational and with an 11 year absence from Chelsea we all couldn’t wait to see what his return might bring.

REWIND to September 29th 2014. A call from the Dan Pearson Studio to discuss the possibilities of growing a show standard turf for a ‘Derbyshire’ project. It was clear from the start that whilst this was going to be a man made project, it needed to feel like nature; it just so happened that our turf fitted the bill perfectly. With a number of visits from Peter Clay, Managing Director Of Crocus, we set aside a bed of our wildflower landscape turf, containing 34 native perennial species and hoped that the winter would be kind.

With show turf we must admit that our normal advice to the contractor would be to take the turf at least a month in advance in order to grow it on in a polytunnel, particularly with Chelsea being so early in the season. However the reality of nurturing 300m² of turf in a polytunnel was just too expensive. We allowed nature to do it’s thing and a burst of sunshine at the beginning of May soon got the pink campion popping and ready to transport up to the Royal Hospital Gardens in Chelsea.

….FORWARD to 12th May 2015 and we get the green light that the garden is ready to receive turf –  a mere 6 days before the show opens. Using a specialist haulier, the turf was laid flat on stillages  in order for the garden contractors to lay directly onto the site.

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With sun out and excitement building we were very kindly invited up to have a look at the build by project manager for Crocus, Peter Harkett. Steel cap boots and luminous vests donned, we made our way to the triangular plot to see our wildflower turf being laid around the now famous deck area of the garden. Dan Pearson had also chosen Charlie Heyland and Mark Whyman, two exceptionally talented landscape contractors to oversee the build element.

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Chelsea 13 Chelsea 111   Chelsea 12

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Forward again… to now, we are imagining all of those that worked on the project lying down in a dark room. Undoubtedly to bring a show garden of this magnitude together is not for the feint hearted, the attention to detail is breath-taking and the team must have worked tirelessly to get the garden to perfection.

What has resulted from Dan Pearson’s passion for naturalism is a meeting point of horticulture and nature, a garden that is on the wild side, even though it is managed. Stepping into this garden he hoped would make you feel a step closer to nature and without a doubt it does. An interesting post from Andrew O’Brien summed it up perfectly. 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 with the micro detail that can be seen in the complex communities of wildflowers seen in the smallest six inch square of ground space is what makes this garden special. It is a feat of engineering, an incredible team exercise resulting in a stand out winner at Chelsea this year.

We salute you Dan Pearson!

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Official photos taken from the RHS Chelsea pages Dan Pearson 2Dan Pearson 7 Dan Pearson 6 Dan Pearson 5 Dan Pearson 4 DAn Pearson 3

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