A wildflower meadow at the heart of a brand-new retirement village in Alcester has been praised for its outstanding, long-lasting visual impact. For the contractors, HFN Landscapes, the project was fraught with challenges - difficult ground conditions and high magnesium soil required a bespoke mixture, created by DLF Seeds.
The Great Alne Park site before and after seeding with a bespoke wildflower mix from DLF
When Contracts Manager David Smith commenced work on the Great Alne Park project in February, he was greeted by what could only be described as a 20,000 square metre mud bath! "Phase one, the construction of the homes was complete, when we then came in to carry out the soft landscaping - this included allotments, a croquet lawn, the individual apartment gardens as well as a large wildflower area which was the centrepiece of the whole complex" explains David, who has been in charge of HFN's soft-landscaping projects for two years.
"We used ProMaster 25 in a lot of the transition areas on the site, then when it came to the Wildflower meadow, we provided the architects' specification alongside the soil analysis to Paul Hadley at DLF". DLF produce a range of native wild flower mixtures to suit different soil types, however high magnesium was identified, which can contribute to deterioration of clay soil structures, reducing infiltration rates and causing an environment not conducive for effective germination. With this in mind, Paul formulated a bespoke wildflower mixture including species that can tolerate a mixture of environmental conditions such as Knapweeds and Buttercups, together with a number of indicator species including Wild Marjoram, more akin to alkali soils. To deliver an initial boost of colour in the meadow's nursery year, a selection of Cornfield Annuals were also incorporated.
"There is no doubt that Paul's knowledge gave us a mixture that not only met the architects vision, but exceeded what we hoped to achieve in its impact and longevity; especially given the fluctuating hot and wet weather conditions and the added complications that COVID restrictions have had on our work."
The outstanding floral display has since attracted much attention, including on Central News where residents complimented the space as a haven during the lockdown period. "Six months since we seeded the area and it's still a sea of colour, which couldn't be further away from where we started!". David concludes, "As a business, HFN are very proud of what we have achieved, but that wouldn't have been possible without Paul's advice and the quality wildflower mixture DLF delivered. As we increasingly get asked about recreating wildflower and meadow style areas, we know we have the support and product to deliver."
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