We offer two main categories of seed mix; annual and perennial. Each has its pros and cons.
Annuals are quick to germinate, quick to flower and provide a long-lasting display of colour impossible to beat for sheer ‘wow’ factor. The downside is that they generally need to be re-sown into disturbed ground at the start of each year.
Perennial mixes are more expensive and more subtle in the range of colours they provide, but have the advantage that they only need to be sown once.
Annual mixes lend themselves to use in flower beds and planters, whereas perennials can be used to create a more permanent vegetation type similar to a conventional ‘meadow’. But these are just guidelines; in practice, the two can be interchanged or even mixed. There are no rules!
One our most frequently asked questions is: can our mixes be sown into established grassland? And the simple answer is – no. But then, hardly anything can be sown into an existing sward with any degree of success. The bottom line is that seeds need soil in order to germinate, and the mat of vegetation found at ground level in most grassland prevents them reaching it. So for the best results we would strongly recommend starting from bare, disturbed ground.
Another consideration is light; whilst we offer a mix designed for shady conditions, very few seed mixes will tolerate complete shade for the whole day. Full sun or partial sun will give the best displays.Extremely dry, free-draining soils can also cause problems, and will benefit from the addition of extra organic matter.
Our recommended regime for site preparation is as follows:
1. Remove any existing turf and loosen the top 2cm of soil
2. Allow any weed seeds present to germinate, then treat either chemically or physically (rotovate or cover with black plastic)
3. Re-cultivate the top 2cm of soil
4. Sow the seeds
The optimum sowing time is from the end of March to the beginning of April unless stated otherwise.
Sowing rates are as follows:
Annual mixes: 5g per square metre
Perennial mixes: 2g per square metre
After flowering, annual mixes can be left in situ to provide green ground cover over the winter or alternatively can be pulled up in the autumn to leave bare soil. Whichever, the site will need to be cleared and re-cultivated prior to sowing again in March/April.
Perennial mixes should be cut back by hand or with a strimmer, or mown with the mower on its highest setting, between September and March. The cuttings should be removed.
To achieve these low sowing rates, it helps to mix the seed with dry sand or sawdust; this also makes it easier to see which areas have already been covered.