Go Wild with British Seed Houses

Fiona Gebbettin Industry News

WildflowersBritish Seed Houses has once again come to the rescue of the landscaper, with an exciting new wild flower mixture which is as attractive to the eye as it is to the multitude of wildlife for which it will provide a habitat. WF17 is set to change the misconceptions that have grown up around these mixtures.

Wild flower areas are a popular choice for all types of developments - from new roads to hotels and shopping centres. Yet developers are frequently disappointed with their choice, seeing the area deteriorate into a dull weedy mess.

"Architects often imagine a wild flower meadow to be like a herbaceous border," says British Seed Houses' Richard Brown, "Yet the reality is that many native wild flower species are unspectacular to look at and that it can take a year or two to get a full display."

British Seed Houses has sought to tackle this issue with WF17, which combines colourful native varieties the Corn Marigold, Cornflower and Field Poppy with non-native species such as Californian Poppy, Fairy Toad Flax, Herbal Tansy and Tickseed.

"These are not invasive species, but are more akin to garden varieties and provide an ideal compromise for those specifying wild flowers to create a habitat, but still requiring a good visual display," says Richard.

As well as offering bold flowers, WF17 is also tolerant to changeable climatic conditions, simply requiring the water and increasing temperatures offered by April seeding.

Correct management of wild flower areas is key to achieving and maintaining an attractive display, comments Richard.

"While WF17 is easy to manage, it does need some forward planning and attention to a regular regime," he points out.

Seed should ideally be placed in a sterile seedbed, where the soil has been turned over and left for weeds to chit. A spray with glyphosate ahead of planting the mix will then cut out competition to the emerging seedlings.

However, WF17 can tolerate more fertile conditions, so seeding into new topsoil on a progressing development is also feasible.

Annual wild flowers go to seed and then die back, allowing the new plants to come through the following year, so ongoing management is relatively simple.

"The problems occur when the site is handed over to another contractor who does not fully understand the regime," says Richard. "Annual wild flower areas should not be repeatedly mown or they will not seed, and weeds and weed grasses will creep in. A single cut to 4-7cm in the autumn, with the clippings removed, is all that is needed."

With WF17 offering a 'foolproof' mixture with guaranteed colour and easy establishment, the signs are that developers and architects will be going wild.

To view Pitchcare's extensive range of wildflower seeds visit the Pitchcare Shop.
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