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Meadows Advice Centre

A Pictorial Meadow can be achieved by anyone, but with some of our meadow types, a little knowledge will be needed to help you to achieve the best results. 

There's lots of ways you can learn about designer meadows, from online webinars and garden open days, to articles and the frequently asked questions below. 

If you can't find the answer to your question below, you can always ask our experts.

Upcoming Events

Futurescape 2021
16th & 17th November
ExCEL London

Futurescape 2021

FutureScape Expo 2021 - the UK’s must-attend landscaping event. For the past eight years, it has been a vital addition to the calendar for anyone within the industry. FutureScape Expo is a bustling two-day show with informative seminars and debates full of practical business advice and a chance to connect, share and collaborate.

Pictorial Meadows will be returning to Futurescape again this year and will have our meadow experts on hand to answer any of your questions and discuss and upcoming projects. We look forward to see you there!

Tickets are free, and available from the Futurescape website.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Annual Meadow FAQS

No. We have sown meadows in areas that were afterwards visited by big flocks of birds and in areas where mice and squirrels were particularly happy and so were our meadows in the end.

Annual meadows thrive on normal to high fertility soils making them perfect solutions for most gardens and parks. The richer the soil though the taller and bushier the plants will be and the thinner and poorer, the opposite will happen. Normally if you grow annual meadows on the same patch of ground for more than 3 years you will see the fertility start to decrease and the emerging meadows look finer and shorter. If you suspect that the soil is very rich then it’s probably best to reduce the sowing rate a little. Equally if it’s very poor either just enjoy the daintier display or increase the sowing rate a little.

Most years the displays carry on with later taller flowers masking the shorter earlier ones. Sometimes it’s just a question of giving nature a little bit more time. Even if the later flowers are less showy they will still have a lot of sparkle. If really looking tatty you can give them the ‘Chelsea chop’ which is a very high cut to knock off the seeding flower heads and stimulate a 2nd flush of growth and flowers.

Unfortunately this sometimes happens, but don’t panic. Wait until your weeds are about 150 mm (6 inches) tall and run your mower over the whole area on the highest cut. This checks the weeds and allows the slower growing meadow to come through.

No, but it’s really important to roll or firm the seeds into the ground so the seedlings get enough moisture. The seeds will germinate readily as soon as the soil is warm and moist enough.

Go to all Annual Meadows FAQs...
Perennial Meadow FAQS

Most of the Pictorial Meadows mixes have been specially designed to perform on normal to high fertility soils making them perfect solutions for most gardens and parks. The richer the soil though the taller and bushier the plants will be especially in year one. The thinner and poorer the soil the opposite will happen. It is best to select a mix to start with that best sits your soil and then to sustain the annual cut and collect. After a few years even on the most fertile soils you will see the composition and structure changing as fertility start to decrease and the emerging meadows look finer and shorter.

No, but again it can make a very significant difference to the success, especially the species diversity of your perennial meadow. Every species in your mix needs a slightly different set of triggers that allow it to germinate and grow. We formulate the mix carefully to encourage the greatest range of species to all thrive together but it is necessary to check the faster and bushier ones to allow slower and finer ones to get a foothold. At the same time any open soil is likely to start getting colonised by invading weed seeds. Left unchecked, faster growing perennials and aggressive weeds will gain a competitive advantage quickly swamping out others. An establishment cut checks any invading annual weeds and stops the faster growing or emerging perennials from dominating. Essential light and water reaches the slower growing species and allows them to catch up. It also encourages basal shooting which in turn helps to close out bare ground. Once you get to the end of the first growing season and there is a good range of species present they are all remarkably resilient but really do need this initial helping hand.

No, but it can make a very significant difference to the success of your perennial meadow. In the first year the greatest cause of failure is competition from young weeds including grasses. However well you have prepared your site the seed bank in the soil can still contain millions of weed seeds. Perennial meadow seeds germinate slowly over a period of time. On non mulched sites this allows the weed seeds in the soil to gain a competitive advantage quickly swamping the slower perennials. Mulching reduces this very significantly although it still doesn’t stop weed seeds from blowing in.

Yes, irrigation can make a big difference to perennial meadow success. The critical period is late spring through to mid summer whilst the bulk of the young seedlings are emerging. Once you can see a good range of species establishing and the ground is starting to look more green than brown irrigation can stop.

Not really. Autumn and winter sowing is beneficial because it provides an important chilling period that in turn helps a greater number of seeds to germinate in the spring. Whatever the sowing time though vigorous establishment growth won’t happen until the soil really starts to warm up, normally from April onwards. Spring through to summer sowing can give you rapid germination as long as the soil is warm and moist but a greater percentage of seed may still remain dormant until autumn or even the following spring. In general though, whatever the sowing time you should start to enjoy some colour by late summer.

Go to all Perennial Meadows FAQs...
Learn more about meadows...
Sue France
Join our CEO, Sue France, for a free live meadows Q&A webinar.

Taking place regularly throughout the year, Sue answers all your meadow questions.
Webinar: Meadows Q&A
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