Since World War Two, the UK has lost a staggering 97 per cent of its wildflower meadows. What has robbed us of these romantic swathes? Intensive farming and development, on the whole. So, it is practically our national duty to create our own wildflower patches where we can. Notoriously difficult to start, they are as rewarding as any of gardening’s gifts once established. Here, we show you how to grow wildflowers with flair.

Know Your Plants

Know Your Plants

It is beneficial to work out what plants you are after. Do you want your wildflowers to be annual or perennial? Are you up for native or non-native? Do you want to tailor your patch to a specific wildlife? Or are you happy with a mixture of it all?

Top Up Your Tool Kit


Have the right items to hand from the outset. All you will need is: some packets of wildflower seed; a fork; a rake; some dry sand; some bamboo canes; a hose or watering can.

Careful Prep Is Key

Prep Is Key

Pick a sunny patch of ground that hasn’t been recently cultivated. Dig out any weeds and remove big stones. Thoroughly fork over the soil to loosen it. Rake the surface level to create your seedbed.

Sow Your Seeds

Sow Seeds

Ideally you want to sow your wildflower seed in March or April. You’ll need approximately five grams of wildflower seed per square metre of ground. Moisten your bed and mix your seed with dry sand, so that you can see where it lands more easily. Scatter the seed as evenly as you can. Walk back over all that you’ve scattered, so that the seed makes contact with the soil. Gently rake over the bed to cover the seeds with a fine layer of soil. Water the entire bed, being careful not to wash away the seeds, and then keep watering your freshly sown seed twice a week. Watch and wait…

Beware The Weeds And The Birds

Beware Birds

Birds and weeds are a young wildflower patch’s nemesis. To repel any birds who might want to gobble up your seeds before they’ve grown, consider hanging CDs, whose shiny surface will put them off, from bamboo canes in the bed. Keep on top of weeding – dandelions, docks, they’ll all want to come – until your patch is well-established.

Soak Up The Wisdom Of The Experts

To boost inspiration and confidence, have a listen to Episode 82 of Sarah Raven’s generally excellent podcast Grow, Cook, Eat, Arrange, in which the lovely Arthur Parkinson (@arthurparkinson_) waxes lyrical about his father’s perennial wildflower meadow. Trust us: you’ll want to get out and dig immediately.

By Becky Ladenburg
March 2024