For most people, looking after a lawn means regular mowing to keep it at an attractive and healthy height, plus watering and the occasional dose of fertiliser.
Some people, on the other hand, prefer things a little bit more wild.
With that said, there's no reason you can't have a little bit of both. Turning even a small patch of your garden into a wildflower meadow creates extra visual impact, expands your gardening interests and is great for wildlife. Bees and butterflies, in particular, are attracted by a selection of wildflowers.
The important thing to remember is that, even though it looks wild, your meadow will need a bit of maintenance. Even if you're replanting a whole lawn as a wildflower meadow, don't put away that mower just yet.
Why not just let it grow?
Wildflowers do just fine on their own, right? Well, to a certain extent that's true, but for your own wildflower meadow, you want better than just fine.
With so many flowers and grasses competing for space, it's important to maintain the right balance if you want your meadow to look attractive rather than unkempt and messy. It can be a little too wild if left alone.
Cutting back the plant growth at the right times ensures the flowers grow back healthy the following year and that other plants aren't able to take over.
When to get the mower out
The best time to cut your meadow is at the end of summer, or perhaps just into autumn. The exact time varies, so pay attention to the plants so you can get it just right.
The ideal time to mow is when at least most of the plants have completed their life cycles. You can spot this by watching for the development of seed pods, which will then open and drop the seeds on the ground. At this point, the stems of the plants will also begin to turn from green to brown and start becoming more hay-like.
If you're unable to work out the right time by monitoring the plants, you shouldn't go too wrong just cutting them at the end of summer, when temperatures are still relatively high.
Getting the most out of your mowing
Some people leave cuttings to decompose on the ground, believing this will help fertilise next year's plants. While this will indeed provide nutrients to the soil, it actually provides too much and will give strong, hardy grasses what they need to take the ground from meadow flowers. Clear the ground thoroughly of hay after cutting, or simply use a mower that collects clippings as you go. If you need help finding the right mower for your needs, contact a company like Cox Mowers for assistance.