My elderly godmother is always very impressed with the quality of the flowers, as are my other friends and family who are lucky enough to receive them! - Mrs P. Flynn

Britain's Wild Flowers

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Since the Second World War, the UK has lost 97% of its native wildflower habitats. These meadows used to be managed for hay-making and grazing, and were hubs of rich biodiversity, bursting with native plants, insects and animals. This once invaluable feature of our countryside is now a rarity, with wildflower abundance a fraction of what it was. Many of the UK’s wildflowers are in serious decline or endangered, and they need better protection. 

Stocking your garden with native wildflowers (responsibly sourced in the UK) attracts a wide diversity of birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife, which also helps stop wildflower decline through pollination. Growing wildflowers in urban areas also helps to remind us and others how special our own native flowers are and how important it is to protect and conserve our remaining wildflower meadow habitats.



Sadly the main cause of the demise of our wildflowers is pollution. Pollution from factories, sewage, car and fertilizers. Much of the wildflowers of lowland Britain require poor soils but ironically the pollutants actually in most cases enrich our soil and make it more difficult for native flora to survive.

For example you may have noticed how river banks seem to be choked with nettles? Nettles love rich soil and have out competed other plants by utilising the nitrates that have leached into the water from poor farming practices.


wildflowers 2

Wildflowers are not simply decoration for the countryside. They support a myriad of other creatures. On 30th september 2014, conservation organisation WWF released its Living Planet report.The report suggests that 50% of wildlife has been lost from the planet as a whole in the last 4 decades. WWF Director General March Lambertini commented on the report saying "Biodiversity is a crucial part of the systems that sustain life on Earth - and the barometer of what we are doing to this plantet, our only home. We urgently need bold global action in all sectors of society to build a more sustainable future."



wildflower meadow
Sowing Wildflowers

Ground preparation

  • For small areas, remove weeds by hand or cover with black plastic or a weed-suppressing membrane for at least three months prior to sowing.
  • For larger areas and where vigorous perennial weeds, such as nettles, docks and dandelions, are present in large number, non-chemical control methods may not be effective. In these situations instead spray off existing vegetation (unless it is already species-rich) using non-residual systemic glyphosate-containing weedkillers
  • Dig or rotavate the soil, then firm and rake to make a seedbed as for a new lawn
  • Don't incorporate manure or fertiliser as high fertility encourages excessive vigour in grasses that then crowd out the wildflowers
  • Allow four to six weeks for the soil to settle and for any weed seeds to germinate. Spray or hoe these off before sowing
  • On very fertile soils it may be an advantage to remove the top soil but, for anything other than the smallest area, this requires machinery. An alternative approach (on soils other than clays and those with high organic matter) is to put the land down to oil-seed rape (seed is sold in pet food shops) or mustard for a season to reduce fertility, removing the crop at flowering time


  • Even large areas can be sown by hand quite easily
  • Rates will vary between individual mixes but, as a rough guide, pure wildflower seed should be sown at 1g per sq m (¼oz per 5 sq yd) and wildflower and grass seed mixes at 5g per sq m (¼oz per sq yd). These tiny amounts can be difficult to broadcast evenly so mix the seed with silver sand to make it easier to handle
  • To further ensure that the seed is scattered evenly, sow half lengthways and the remaining half widthways
  • Rake in lightly, water thoroughly and leave them to grow naturally. However, be prepared to protect the seed with netting if birds prove to be a problem

Cornfield annuals

Where soil fertility is too high to allow perennial wildflowers to flourish, consider sowing a cornfield annual mix that includes plants such as cornflower, corn poppy, corn marigold and corncockle. Some barley and wheat seed will add an authentic touch.

  • Sowing should be done on bare soil, free of perennial weeds
  • Autumn sowings generally favour poppies, while spring sowings favour corncockle
  • Many plants will flower within three months of sowing
  • Leave the plants to self seed, clear them away in spring and rake over the ground to remove weeds and encourage seed to germinate
  • Additional sowings may be required in the first few years until the wildflower seed bank increases in the soil

Converting a lawn to a meadow

Lawns can be converted into wildflower meadows, but it can take a number of years for the balance between grass and wildflowers to be established.

  • Stop feeding and weedkilling the turf
  • In the first year, continue mowing weekly to weaken the grass
  • Some wild species will establish and thrive
  • Raise others from seed, introducing them as one- to two-year-old pot-grown plants planted into holes in the turf
  • Many wildflower suppliers offer plug plants that are ideal for planting into an established lawn. For a natural look, plant in small groups of the same plant


Grasses can be very vigorous and may out-compete wild flowers. To reduce the vigour of established grassland, introduce semi-parasitic plants. Suitable plants include Rhinanthus species (rattle), Euphrasia species (eyebright) and Pedicularis palustris and P. sylvatica (lousewort). The most useful is Rhinanthus minor (yellow rattle). In late summer or autumn seed is broadcast onto grass that has been cut short. It is an annual and can be eliminated from grassland in one year if prevented from seeding by cutting.


As I wandered the forest,

The green leaves among,

I heard a Wild Flower

Singing a song.

'I slept in the earth

In the silent night,

I murmured my fears

And I felt delight.

'In the morning I went

As rosy as morn,

To seek for new joy;

But oh! met with scorn.'

William Blake

Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! I fear lest it droop and drop into the dust.

I may not find a place in thy garland, but honour it with a touch of pain from thy hand and pluck it. I fear lest the day end before I am aware, and the time of offering go by.

Though its colour be not deep and its smell be faint, use this flower in thy service and pluck it while there is time.

Rabindranath Tagore

I am a kind word uttered and repeated

By the voice of Nature;

I am a star fallen from the

Blue tent upon the green carpet.

I am the daughter of the elements

With whom Winter conceived;

To whom Spring gave birth; I was

Reared in the lap of Summer and I

Slept in the bed of Autumn.

Khalil Gibran

Pink, small, and punctual,

Aromatic, low,

Covert in April,

Candid in May,

Dear to the moss,

Known by the knoll,

Next to the robin

In every human soul.

Bold little beauty,

Bedecked with thee,

Nature forswears


Emily Dickinson