Wildflower Maintenance – Webinar with James Hewetson-Brown

We have recently started a series of webinars looking at all things wild flower. Our second webinar was on the subject of wild flower maintenance and we thought it would be helpful to follow this up with a blog on the subject as June is the best time of the year to start thinking about a cutting regime for your wild flower areas.

Our recent webinar covered a number of ideas for maintaining wildflowers and included the latest results from our Research and Development site.

For brevity’s sake, this blog will follow the running order of the webinar. For more detail, follow the link supplied at the end of the blog and listen to the full webinar.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us for more information.

Wild flower meadows with biodiversity and intensity of maintenance/management in mind

The above was work done by Professor Steve Head of the Wildlife Gardening Forum. There are not many habitats in this country where low maintenance and high levels of biodiversity go hand in hand. Prairie, Veldt and Alpine meadows are low maintenance and high biodiversity, but we can’t grow these in the UK as our temperate climate won’t allow it. However a wild flower meadow is our best shot at low maintenance with the associated reduced costs, and the ability to achieve high levels of biodiversity very easily and in a very short time scale.

From our Research & Development initiatives to date, we have trialled various different cutting regimes that you could employ in wild flower areas and the results you may experience.

Zero cut

This is not a long term option for wildflower meadows as in time they will get taken over by shrubs and then trees and then the meadow becomes a wood. As we monitor our zero cut plot we will look at the number of wild flower species that persist. With no cut and remove, we would expect to see a drop off in the number of plant species in the plot. The other reason to avoid a zero cut regime is the aesthetics or look of the plot. For around 6 months of the year the meadow will look very scruffy as can be seen below:

Zero cut

One Cut

One autumn cut a year is the cutting regime used by many. On our R&D site we did this (no image) on the 19th September 2018. It is a low cost option and is good for wild life as there is habitat to provide food and shelter through the spring, summer and early autumn when animals are most active. Cosmetically there can be a scruffy look from August to the cutting date although this does depend on how fertile the soil is as a lot of growth gives a scruffier, late-summer look. So one cut regimes do suit meadows where soil fertility is poor. Aim to complete the cut reasonably early in the autumn. Leaving it too late means that the meadow has no time to regenerate before it becomes completely dormant in the winter and this will result in a slow start the following spring as there is little plant leaf area to promote early spring growth.

If there is one essential requirement for a meadow this is it; one autumn cut.

Two Cut

A two cut regime is well worth considering for a number of reasons. This is most useful where soil fertility is high. Cutting in early June and mid-September ensures that both cuts take off the maximum amount of green material and this is a way to ensure the removal of the most amount of nutrients to help reduce overall soil fertility.

Two cuts

Do this for a few years and you can significantly reduce soil nutrition which will ensure a lovely open meadow that maintains species diversity and maximises the colour and variety of the meadow. The Ashley Manor case study in the webinar gives an example of this technique and the result can be seen below. In this case, the two cut regime was stopped after about 5 years. By then, soil fertility was reduced to a level that required only one cut and remove in the autumn and still gave a biodiverse and attractive meadow.

The two cut method can help with keeping the meadow very tidy and aesthetically pleasing, and extends the time the meadow is in flower. Essentially you get the early spring flowers and, as they start to senesce, the June cut removes that first flush of plant material. This then regrows quickly to give some flowers for the summer and early autumn.

One tip after the June cut is to make sure that after cutting, the area is then well watered if the soil is dry. This encourages quicker re-growth and so the area is quick to flower again.

Type of Machinery for Maintenance

There is always interest in what methods and machines are best for cutting a meadow. The answer is whatever is easy and quick as this will ensure it gets done! So it is generally worth avoiding scythes unless you have been trained and are on a health kick! A strimmer and Allen Scythes are good for small and medium areas, but the arisings will need raking off by hand. Machines such as the Profihopper and Grillo will cut and remove in one go and are very easy to use. They make light work of the maintenance, but investment is required as they are not cheap. Tractor powered machines such as cut and collection machines or balers work well for large meadows.

Other Considerations

The design of a meadow is the starting point for making maintenance easy and achievable. There are many things to think about when designing a meadow but don’t overlook the ability of the design to make its future maintenance easier. Paths and margins around the outside of the meadow will allow easy access for cutting and then the removal of cuttings.

There is likely to be some need for spot treating weeds. This can be done by digging them out or spot spraying them with glyphosate. With a well-established meadow, this is relatively easily done. Where seeding wild flowers into soil with a high weed burden, identifying and removing the weeds can lead to a huge amount of work.

Leaf residue can kill a meadow quickly if left to smother wildflowers over a winter. This kill out is often attributed to shade but it is as, or more likely, a result of leaving a thick layer of leaves in the autumn. They will sit over the flowers starving them of light and also reintroducing nutrients as they eventually break down. Cut the meadow back before leaf drop and removing the leaves is easy, especially if you have a collector mower as this will clear the leaves in no time and the mulch makes great compost.

Another tip is to take care when fertilising the lawn. It is possible to have a top quality lawn immediately adjacent to a wildflower meadow (and the contrast is a lovely feature of a garden meadow), but when applying fertiliser treat the two areas separately – avoid fertiliser overlapping onto the wildflower area at all costs.

In conclusion, there is nothing too prescriptive about timings and methods and a well-established meadow is very forgiving and robust. All of these maintenance ideas do rely on a really well-established wild flower space as the starting point and we can help to achieve this with our various wild flower products.

If you would like more detail on any of the above, please take a listen  to our recent webinar on the subject:

Or give us a call on 01256 771222 to talk it through.

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A Kenilworth garden design completed with Wildflowers

We love seeing how our Wildflower Turf is used once it arrives with our customers and this month we’re thrilled to share some images and story behind a Wildflower Turf domestic garden makeover courtesy of Accredited Partners, Blue Daisy Garden Design.

All pictures courtesy of Blue Daisy Garden Design

Blue Daisy Garden Design create gardens in Kenilworth, Coventry and Warwickshire and the team are passionate about creating great garden design that is personalised to their clients.   (They also offer an innovative ‘design by post’ service too!)

This month’s feature garden was designed by the Blue Daisy Garden Design team, led by Nicki Jackson, and wraps around the client’s house on two sides.

The clients very much wanted to make the most of the beautiful, rural views they have and to make the most of the aspect, the rear of the garden was designed on a simple cross system. From the main patio outside the house Blue Daisy Garden Design created 4 beds anchored with a single hornbeam umbrella tree in each segment and planted these areas out with Alliums, Panicum and Verbena bonariensis which provided loose framing of the views without blocking the countryside vista beyond.

Blue Daisy also created a dry rill filled with pebbles running from the centre-point of the patio down between the beds to the centre point of the main Wildflower Turf meadow, which subsequently acts as a springboard out to the borrowed landscape beyond.

At right angles to, and running across this section of the garden, a garden retreat with a 4 arch walkway leading to it was positioned.  Climbers have been planted on the arches and, when sitting in the retreat, they frame the delightful view through the 4 beds to another, smaller patch of wildflower meadow.

Blue Daisy Garden Design installed 66m2 of Wildflower Native Enriched Turf across two key focal point areas of the garden. The Wildflower Native Enriched Turf was also under planted with spring bulbs and the clients have been delighted with their two wildflower meadows since they were installed.

Subtle lighting was also included to prolong the ambience of the garden into the night.

The symmetry and simplicity of the garden design, complimented by two vibrant wildflower meadows, has been met with great delight, and this is reflected in the clients words below:

“It’s almost 18 months since we met Nicki Jackson and started our garden design with her which was completed in spring of 2018.

Nicki suggested that within the garden plan we should introduce Wildflower Turf, a product new to us, and oh my word what a delight it has turned out to be as has the whole garden design. Nicki gave us a plant list tailored to suit our wishes but also combined them with her knowledge and skill and she oversaw the planting with her team from Blue Daisy.

The day the Wildflower Turf was laid Nicki introduced some spring bulbs underneath the turf and from spring through to autumn nature has presented us with an ever-changing view of colour and texture.  First the spring bulbs, followed by wildflowers in such an abundance and such an array of colours, that it has become the main focal point of our garden. It has created a habitat for many bees and butterflies and other insects and oh my word what a feast they have had!

Can’t really begin to describe the pleasure derived from the wildflowers last year, and this year we await their return with excitement as the spring bulbs have already presented their colourful, cheerful display. This coupled with the rest of the garden, which is now starting its second season, is giving us so much pleasure it is hard to describe. Oh what joy!!!”

If you’d like to see one of your landscape projects featured in our Blog as a Case Study (or in our quarterly newsletter) then we’d love to hear from you! Please give us a call on 01256 771 222 or email us at wildflower@wildflowerturf.co.uk.

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What can our Accredited Partner Programme offer you?

As part of our commitment to furthering wildflower education in the UK, Wildflower Turf Ltd offer a unique opportunity to landscape professionals.

 

Interested in upping your wildflower game? You’re in the right place!

Sean McGeachy Garden Design

Wildflower Turf Ltd support landscaping professionals with a unique Accredited Partner scheme that provides unrivalled insight and training in the delivery of a guaranteed wildflower environment.

Wildflower Turf Accredited Partners gain training in delivering successful wildflower landscapes and are entitled to exclusive discounts on the full range of Wildflower Turf products as well as receiving referrals from Wildflower Turf Ltd for landscaping jobs. Accredited Partners are also provided with access to a dedicated Accreditation Manager from Wildflower Turf Ltd and receive online and offline marketing support.

One of our Accredited Partners is Kent-based garden specialist and landscape designer, Sean McGeachy. A keen plantsman and horticulturalist, Sean has designed & worked with gardens for over 15 years. Sean graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with full honours, later choosing to focus on his love of horticulture. Having worked in all aspects of gardening, his path has finally taken him to garden design.

Sean McGeachy Garden Design

As an accredited Wildflower Turf Ltd partner, Sean embraces the dynamic nature of wildflower meadows and the many benefits they offer, not only from an installation perspective but also in terms of ecological and aesthetic aspects.

Sean McGeachy Garden Design

“Accreditation has meant that I have been provided with knowledge and technical support from Wildflower Turf Ltd. I am kept up-to-date with any advancements on tried and tested Wildflower Turf products and new Wildflower Turf products coming to the market. Being accredited has also given me direct access to customers wanting to install Wildflower Turf products in their gardens and landscapes.”

Sean McGeachy

If you’d like to join Sean as one of our Accredited Partners or if you’d like some additional information on out Accredited Partner Programme then please do get in touch on 01256 771 222 or email us at wildflower@wildflowerturf.co.uk  The next days available for training are 6th September in Yorkshire and 20th September in Hampshire.

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Sustainable Drainage Systems – Webinar with James Hewetson-Brown

We have recently started a program of lunchtime webinars looking at specific landscaping topics and how wildflowers can contribute to their success.

We hope these webinars will be a useful tool for landscape professionals and will align with the various training modules we offer, including CPD sessions for Landscape Architects, our Accredited Partner Training Scheme for Landscape Contractors and Garden Designers and Council training days.

We conducted our first webinar at lunchtime last Friday and the topic was Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs). We had a very good turnout despite initial technical difficulties and got some great questions and feedback. So we thought this month’s blog could look at the topics we discussed in the webinar and give you a link to go to the full presentation that was recorded as a result.

So rather than go through the whole presentation in this blog I am lifting some of the slides to give you an idea and hope that they whet your appetite to take advantage of the free recorded resource below.

We looked at how SuDs offer a set of tools to mitigate water flow to prevent flooding, the relevance of wildflowers in these schemes and how their inclusion offers multifunctional options for any development:

What are SuDS?

We talked through the soft landscape options in SuDs and how wildflowers can contribute to these:

Soft landscape options

We then discussed four specific benefits wildflowers can bring to SuDs. The example below is a study by Portsmouth University looking at how the inclusion of wildflowers in a SuDs scheme can reduce pollution:

Pollution Mitigation

We then talked through a cautionary tale of when specifying wildflowers in a Suds scheme is not always the best choice. We went on to explore five wider benefits of wildflowers in urban greening and GI in general. The two examples below are improved biodiversity (which will be relevant when Biodiversity Net Gain is implemented):

Broader benefits

and how using wildflowers can help with meeting regulations:

Regulatory requirements

We finished with some case studies of the 4 soft landscaping SuDs options, some conclusions and then a few of the questions we were asked after the webinar and links to further reading.

The webinar is a 40 minute long seminar of pictures and audio (although the advantage of using the link is that you can fast forward where you like!). We hope it will be a useful resource to offer multifunctional ideas for any SuDs scheme.

Hope you enjoy the webinar and we look forward to the next one!

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Delivering the ‘diversity’ in Biodiversity Net Gain

There is currently a lot of coverage in the press dedicated to the loss of biodiversity – in this country and across the world.

Now the Government is set to introduce a new initiative – Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). Any new development that disturbs green space will need to have a plan to deliver BNG. In simple terms the developer will have to ensure that a project/development maintains or enhances biodiversity.

Hoverflies and other invertebrates feeding on Wild Carrot

This isn’t new and maintaining biodiversity has been a planning objective for many years. The whole 2012 Olympic project went to great lengths to deliver green infrastructure. It set and fulfilled its own very exacting targets and was an exemplar development in this respect.

Although still in its early stages, BNG is going to be measured, audited and monitored over years. It will be compulsory so there has to be a financial incentive, either as a grant or as a fine. So far it looks like the latter!

This is likely to mean that an ecologist or suitably qualified person will assess the state of the site before work starts and report back on the current levels of biodiversity. In order to get planning permission a design to ensure BNG will have to be submitted and implemented (if impossible to achieve on site then a donor site has to be found and paid for in mitigation).

Wildflowers for development Copyright Contract Ecology Ltd 2019

So to reiterate, the big difference to previous initiatives is that this is going to be mandatory – so any plan will be monitored to ensure its success. There is talk of 30 years’ worth of monitoring.

There is still detail to decide and consultations continue, but the laudable aim is to see a significant improvement in the UK’s biodiversity. The government has recently conducted a consultation exercise on BNG and how it will be delivered (December 2018) and we are awaiting the outcome.  In an ideal world, we will see new developments providing oases of biodiverse refuge for wildlife that link with others across the country to form a network of species rich habitats.

The height, density and structure of a wildflower meadow offers food and shelter for all sorts of wildlife

In all of this wildflowers can help! They are a species rich habitat and offer the ‘diversity’ bit of the word ‘biodiversity’.  A typical wildflower space will have from 20 to 60 species in a few square meters and this will go a long way to answering the landscape professional’s problems of getting enough species into a given area to help their BNG demands.

Expect to find more fauna and wildlife in the protective habitat of a wildflower meadow.

The point is that to meet targets for biodiversity you need a lot of species. A well established and maintained wildflower meadow is about as species rich as you can get in the UK. Whilst wildflowers are not the only answer, we know that flora diversity leads to fauna diversity. A monoculture is proven to limit fauna/wildlife.

With few plant species and reduced height, a mown lawn limits fauna/wildlife

Speed is of the essence too. Wildflowers are quick to establish and bugs, bees and butterflies migrate to this habitat within days. Trees will help but take years to reach a growth stage that will contribute.

Most stakeholders, from ecologists to developers agree that the principle behind BNG is a good one. Getting the detail right will be hard. There is little chance of all stakeholders being happy with the scheme and compromise will be needed. However there are real opportunities to improve biodiversity in urban and semi urban locations using reliable and practical ways that guarantee results.

Get the establishment of a wildflower meadow right and it will reverse biodiversity loss.

Get this right and there are many beneficiaries. The ecologist can watch and monitor improvements to biodiversity. The developer can be safe in the knowledge that they have done their bit for nature for which they can claim positive PR whilst avoiding any penalties. The site owner will have reduced costs due to the lower maintenance required with the upkeep of the site. The general public will have a natural looking green site that improves general health and well-being. Finally and perhaps most importantly, wildlife will have the building blocks needed to survive and thrive.

With thanks to Oonagh Nelson, Principal Ecological Consultant at Contract Ecology Ltd for her advice and input.

James Hewetson-Brown MD Wildflower Turf Ltd

 

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A welcome addition to our Team!

With a busy year ahead, we’ve recently appointed a new addition to our team.

Exciting news this month, as we can reveal we’ve appointed Phil Singleton to assist us to further service our growing customer base in the north of England. Welcome Phil!

Phil Singleton

Phil has a strong background in the horticultural and landscape industries, having formally worked for Icopal Limited (part of the BMI Group) and Greenscape UK (now trading as Fytogreen).

As former Deputy Chairman for GRO (Green Roof Organisation), Phil will use his skills to great advantage from the outset, as we’re currently working on several large wildflower roof projects. Watch this space for further details!

Phil’s appointment follows our northern expansion in 2017, with our production site situated in Helperby, Yorkshire complementing our Hampshire production facility. We have increased our overall capacity and our northern base also enables us to offer training to our Accredited Partners on a more regular basis.

As interest in, and demand for, our range of wildflower products continues to grow apace, we remain committed to providing our customers with outstanding service. Phil is highly qualified and will be instrumental in providing our northern partners with an exceptional level of support.

Phil is very much looking forward to getting to know you over the coming weeks and months, and we are thrilled to be growing our team as we further expand our operations.

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A Gallery of Wildflowers

Art may be in the eye of the beholder but as far as we are concerned the proof is very much in the pudding this month!

With spring just around the corner (we hope!) we’re delighted to share some lovely images of our Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf flourishing within the scenic grounds of The Wykeham Gallery in Hampshire.

The popular Gallery, one of the UK’s leading contemporary art galleries, exhibits paintings as well as an extensive selection of bronze sculptures, ceramics and glass by well-established British and International artists.

The Wykeham Gallery, Stockbridge

Situated on the High Street of Stockbridge, the main Gallery rooms open out into a Sculpture Garden, where space has been provided to exhibit an array of bronzes, ceramics and a collection of glass by the acclaimed glass blower Adam Aaronson.

Garden of Wykeham Gallery

With walls adorned by landscapes, the Gallery itself embarked on a major landscaping project of its own in the summer of 2017.  The Wykeham Gallery enlisted the support of Wildflower Turf Accredited Partners, Charlie’s Homes & Gardens, and the transformation of the Sculpture Garden began.

View back to the gallery

Gallery owner, Gerald Dodson, required a naturalistic solution that would add interest to the rear garden space without detracting from the sculptures themselves. The answer was our Landscape Turf, and the photos above and below illustrate just what can be achieved with this versatile landscaping option.

Landscape turf in late summer

Charlie’s Homes & Gardens Ltd, laid 10m² of Landscape Turf within the dedicated space around the sculptures in the summer of 2017. Comprised of 34 UK native wildflowers and grasses, this low-maintenance landscaping solution has proven the perfect addition to The Wykeham Gallery’s Sculpture Garden. The Gallery and Sculpture Garden are both well worth a visit, and you can find out more about The Wykeham Gallery online.

For further detail about Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf, drop us a line wildflower@wildflowerturf.co.uk or give us a call on 01256 771 222.

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Do you know about Native Enriched Wildflower Turf?

Want wildflowers but need them to catch the eye?

Launched in 2017, Wildflower Turf Ltd’s Native Enriched Turf™ was developed to provide maximum floral display providing more colour and interest than our Landscape Turf with the addition of naturalised annual and perennial species to our standard native wildflower mix.

Feathered Pink (Dianthus plumarius) one of the additional 24 naturalised perennials

It was designed with aesthetics very much in mind, the turf provides more of a “cottage garden” look compared to our other turf products but will naturalise as it settles into the local environment over time, typically flowering from April until September (weather dependent). It is a product that fits really well into areas of high visibility, either by the public in communal green spaces or for private customers in their own garden settings.

Turf laid in April 2018 and picture taken in June 2018

With an increased focus on landscaping that is both attractive and biodiverse, Native Enriched Turf has proven very popular with our clients as it appeals to a wide range of audience, as well as ensuring a nectar-rich habitat for wildlife.

Bee on a Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Suitable for all soil types, it is ideal for gardens, parks, municipal areas, private grounds and estates, and even verges and roundabouts. However due to the inclusion of some non-native wildflower species within the mix, it is not as hardy as our all UK native Landscape mix, so has a slightly lower tolerance of drought and shade, or being in windy exposed sites. If in doubt about whether this product is right for the site you have in mind, just give us a call to discuss and we will be happy to advise.

Vipers Bugloss and Borage in full flower

As is the case with all our products, Wildflower Turf Native Enriched™ is low-maintenance, requiring only one or two cuts a year. We recommend a cut and remove every Autumn, with a potential second cut and remove occurring during the early summer months if you have a particularly fertile site or species dominance occurring. Please ensure that all cuttings are removed from the site each time to prevent mulching or adding fertility to the site with rotting material. Again if you are not sure when to complete your cut and removes, please call us for advice or refer to our blog on Maintenance here.

Similar to our Wildflower Turf Landscape product, the unique, soil-less system of Wildflower Turf Native Enriched™ turf provides excellent weed-suppression and is very quick to establish.

University of York

For further detail about Wildflower Turf Native Enriched™, drop us a line wildflower@wildflowerturf.co.uk or give us a call on 01256 771 222.

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Wildflower Turf – here are your best bits of 2018!!

As 2018 draws to a close (how did that come about so quickly?), we thought we’d share with you a selection of projects and key highlights from our year. It’s been a very busy and rewarding twelve months for the Wildflower Turf Ltd team, and we’re looking forward to continuing to share news and insights with you as the New Year commences.

January 2018 saw us exhibiting again at the BTME BIGGA Turf Management exhibition Harrogate, and we’ll be there in 2019 too. Pop it in your diary and come and say hello!

Our BIGGA Stand in 2018 – We will be on Stand 114 next year

Still in that part of the world and not too far away from Harrogate, The University of York formally opened The Piazza Learning Centre at the start of this year. Containing a range of high-quality learning spaces and facilities for those living and studying on the University’s Campus East, the area around the new building features 1,800m² of our Native Enriched Wildflower Turf. (Read more about this project here.)

Aerial view of the site – picture from J Palmer (Landscapes) Ltd

The Beast from the East arrived in February, bringing unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfall to a widespread area and causing general disruption. Timing is everything though, and thankfully our Managing Director, James Hewetson-Brown, dodged the worst of the late winter weather to attend the Pro Landscaper Business Awards and celebrate with nominees and winners.

With the worst of this year’s inclement weather behind us, Helen Gillespie-Brown attended the Landscape 50 Conference in Sheffield. Hosted by the University of Sheffield the conference brought together leading thinkers and practitioners from around the world to set out a bold future vision for Landscape Architecture and provided much food-for-thought to those in attendance.

Closer to home, we supplied 2,768m² of Bespoke Wildflower Turf to a new residential site in London. The Caledonian Road development in Islington is the site of 156 new apartments built by Telford Homes, built on a narrow strip of land with SINC (Site of Importance for Natural Conservation) designation and within the vicinity of a Eurotunnel entrance. Check out our case study for this particular project here.

We also sent 650m² of Shade Tolerant Wildflower Turf to our Accredited Partner Frank Adriaenssens in Belgium, and the exclusive Hotel and Members Club Soho Farmhouse took their first shipment of over 1,350m² of Landscape Turf, with the last shipment arriving to them in June, with a view to take more on site before the year is out.

April saw the final delivery of Wildflower Turf to the Rossall Coastal Defence scheme site in Lancashire. With a new sea wall finally finished after 4 years in construction, the immediate coastal grasslands were in dire need of remediation and rejuvenation. This particular project saw us provide 28,000m² of Bespoke grown turf over an 11-month period.

Our Production Team were kept very busy this month, as April also saw us provide Accredited Partners Turney Landscapes with 2,350m² of Wildflower Turf Roof Turf, destined to cap off an exit shaft at the Canning Town Crossrail, Limmo Penninsula. (You can read more about this project here.)

Image supplied by Turney Landscapes Ltd

We also commenced our first shipment of turf to Cornwall Council for their GI4G project, and we worked with Filmscapes on an order destined for the movie, The Secret Garden, starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters.

May saw the Wildflower Turf Ltd team holding Accreditation Days at both our Hampshire and Yorkshire sites, and we’re thrilled to have welcomed 71 new Accredited Partners into the fold this year.

Our training room in Hampshire

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show always creeps up quickly, and this year appeared to be no different! We supplied Butter Wakefield Garden Design with 6m² of Wildflower Show Turf;  Butter was invited by Gaze Burvill to design the trade stand for their 25th Anniversary year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which resulted in Butter being awarded “5 Stars” together with the much coveted “Best Trade Stand” by the RHS Judges.

We also managed a few minutes of YouTube fame courtesy of Kirk Hardes of Growing Native. We supplied Kirk with 700m² of Native Enriched turf that was installed as part of a fantastic project at Paglesham in Essex. The video detailing the project is well worth a view, check it out here.

Accredited Partner Kirk Hardes – Growing Native

The Beast from the East was long forgotten once June rolled around and the country was gripped by a heatwave.  Thanks to the drought-tolerant nature of wildflower meadows, we saw only minimal watering required and once again wildflowers up and down the country have proved their worth.

We went back to school in June and were delighted to hear that Frimley Junior School (who we supplied 80m² of Landscape Turf to back in March) had scooped up an RHS Green Garden award as they also celebrated their 150-year anniversary.

This month also saw us working with Accredited Partner N T Killingley Ltd to supply 7,400m² of Bespoke Turf for a project at the University of Nottingham.

The temperatures continued to climb in July but that didn’t stop us!

The dates for the RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival were circled in red and we supplied 40m² of Show Turf to the 30th Anniversary Countryfile Garden, designed by Ann-Marie Powell. We were fortunate enough to attend the opening event where we were thrilled to meet RHS director Sue Biggs, as well as Nicki Chapman and Tom Heap from Countryfile.

RHS Hampton Court – The lovely Nicki Chapman with Claire & Becs

We were well represented at this year’s Garden Festival; we also supplied 900m² of Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf and 80m² of Wildflower Annuals Earth to Historic Royal Palaces for the Battlefield to Butterflies Garden, as well as providing 70m² of Show Turf to the main sponsored garden, the Viking Cruises Nordic Lifestyle Garden.

Historic Royal Palaces – Battlefield to Butterflies Garden

And if that wasn’t enough, our turf featured in Carnaby Street (cleverly renamed Carnabee Street) in July as part of Bees’ Needs Week.

August saw us attend the opening of the Brunel House student residence in Bristol. The excellent landscaping now in place was designed by the RG Group (under the guidance of Colorado Goldwyn), who were the overall winners of the 2017 CIRIA BIG Biodiversity Challenge. The RG Group were the recipients of 200m² of turf supplied by Wildflower Turf Ltd (as part of our sponsorship of these awards which encourage the construction industry to embrace biodiversity), and it was wonderful to see the turf being utilised to improve the urban biodiversity of this particular project.

Brunel House Courtyard after – Picture supplied by Paul Groom

Enjoying the lovely summer, we found ourselves well above par (!) when we supplied 450m² of Wildflower Turf Roof Turf to Seaford Head Golf Club through Accredited Partner Landscape 2000 and Bury Hill Landscape Supplies.

September was certainly a social month for the team with Becs attending the 2018 CIRIA Big Biodiversity Awards (and congratulations to the overall winners, Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, who will receive 200m² of Wildflower Turf as their prize), and, a little closer to home, the opening of the Basingstoke Peace Garden.

Our very own Becs presenting at the CIRIA Big Biodiversity Awards

We were also thrilled to receive an update from the founder of Parkinsons.Me, Ewan Stutt. After two years of hard work by a group of committed volunteers, the Parkinsons.Me community garden in West Lockinge, Oxfordshire was officially opened in September. You can read more about this wonderful, therapeutic space which features our wildflowers, on our blog.

Picture supplied by Parkinsons.me

The team were also kept busy this month preparing a large delivery of 1,050m² of Landscape Turf to Cox Landscapes for use at the Barking Riverside residential project in East London.

And if that wasn’t enough, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Ashley Manor wildflower meadow in the Test Valley. This is a very special garden and it was so pleasing to hear that the Wildflower Turf meadow continues to thrive and offer a home to wildlife, a full ten years after installation. We blogged about this meadow recently, you can read more here.

October saw us ship 863m² of Native Enriched Turf, 1,756m² of SUDs Turf and 123m² of Shade Tolerant Turf, on behalf of Accredited Partners Ground Control, to Jaguar Land Rover. The automotive giant is in the middle of a £200m redevelopment of its existing design and engineering centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire, with the landscaping of the new campus grounds now underway.

We also enjoyed attending the Saltex Turf Management Show in October, renewing old acquaintances and making some new friends along the way.

In November we worked with Sally Marshall Garden Design to supply 1,400m² of Native Enriched Turf to a new concept restaurant in the Holme Valley, called Devour. Formally a disused mill, this project will feature food production, a restaurant, an Italian delicatessen, a cookery school and a barista café. And of course, some gorgeous wildflowers!

Picture from Instagram @devourdaily

We also recently shipped 1,235m² of Landscape Turf to Portsea Island, Portsmouth, after receiving an order from Goddards Landscape Contractors Ltd. Helen received the PO almost two years to the day after LDA Design contacted us initially to help with this major Coastal Flood Erosion Risk Management. You can read more about the North Portsea Island project here.

And so, in a whirlwind, we reach December! Our turf is about to be laid at the newly refurbished Darwin Escapes Norfolk Woods site in Norfolk, with the holiday park due to reopen again in January 2019.

Norfolk Woods Resort & Spa during construction.

We’ve also just supplied 1,920m² of turf to Scofell Landscapes. This order will be used as part of a SUDs project at an ongoing Berkeley Homes project in Fleet.

Phew, and that’s only some of our customers and their projects! What a productive year we have had. Now it’s time for a mince pie (ok, possibly two or maybe even three) as we bid 2018 a fond farewell. We wish you and your loved ones a safe and memorable festive season and we look forward to seeing you back here on the Wildflower Turf Ltd Blog in the New Year!

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Ten out of Ten for Test Valley Meadow

A question we are often asked is, “What is the potential longevity of my wildflower meadow?” And our answer is, “It will be indefinite, if maintained well!”

Ten years ago, we worked with Accredited Partner Bill Welling from Lawn Man to enhance Ashley Manor in Hampshire and we were delighted to recently receive an update from Ashley Manor Head Gardener, Olly Samways. A decade on, the Ashley Manor meadow continues to thrive and delight.

Ashley Manor is a Grade II listed building, situated in the Test Valley. The original landscaping project was to cover the fairly steep banks to the rear of Ashley Manor with Wildflower Turf. The banks were south and west facing, in two tiers, and the Test Valley location meant they had chalky soil with only a thin layer of top soil to work with.

Bank below Ashley Manor

In September 2008, 655m² of Wildflower Turf was laid and, despite the challenging profile of the banks, the turf went down well and did not require any pegging. The September installation also meant that the turf did not require any additional watering.

Wildflower Turf being laid

The turf rooted in quickly and established itself well over the winter months, flowering beautifully in the spring and summer of 2009. Red Campion did particularly well on the lower slopes, and the turf also acted very successfully as a weed suppressing mat.

Picture taken June 2009 – 9 months on from laying

Following the first, very successful year, the meadow also formed a home to a number of invertebrates and mammals, with voles and slow worms taking up residence. Over the past decade, the meadow has continued to provide safe haven for an abundance of wildlife.

June 2015

Ten years of meadow management has also given Oliver plenty of time to trial and perfect his cutting regime.

Initially, a two-cut approach was used, with Oliver finding that this provided the longest period of overall flowering in the early years of the meadow. Likewise, this two-cut regime helped with the initial establishment of the late season varieties in the turf, as well as removing old growth that would have otherwise started to compost and raise nutrient levels by the autumn. As part of this regime, the first cut was usually late June or early July, just after the ox-eye daisies were turning.

Picture taken July 2009 – just before 2nd cut

However, in recent years Olly has swapped to a one-cut, with the meadow not seeming to require the additional cut as it has matured.

Turf looking amazing in 2018 – 10 Years on!

“Our experience with our Wildflower Turf has been excellent over the last decade, so I have no reservations at all about waxing lyrical about it to anyone who asks about it! Whenever I give tours around the garden, the wildflower areas continue to draw the most interest, as they have done every year since the turf was installed…”

Ollly Samways

Ashley Manor, Hampshire

September 2018

10 years on

 So, rest assured, Wildflower Turf does indeed provide excellent meadow longevity. Indeed, our own oldest area of wildflowers on the farm has already reached the ripe old age of 15 years old and still continues to flourish.

A great example of a 10 year old perennial Wildflower Turf meadow!

Our thanks to Olly for his recent updates and here’s wishing the Ashley Manor Meadow a very happy Ten-Year Anniversary!

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