Plant A Carpet Of Flowering Natives
Good Organic Gardening|September - October 2021
More than just a patch of colour, a wildflower meadow creates biodiversity, attracting birds and beneficial bugs
Angus Stewart

A wonderful way to create a good organic garden is to promote biodiversity across your landscape, whatever its size, and the best way to do this is to try and recreate what happens in a healthy, wild ecosystem. One of Australia’s most spectacular natural landscapes is the wildflower meadow that reaches its peak in the couple of years after a bushfire.

Wild natives like everlasting and paper daisies, billy buttons and Lechenaultia can also be used in the home garden — not just to create a riot of colour but also to attract a diverse range of birds and insects that will help to create a healthy ecosystem.

Even though it may also attract some insects that might do damage, they, in turn, will draw small birds such as finches and superb fairy-wrens, which will help manage the pest species as well as creating an opportunity for you to observe these beautiful birds up close in your backyard.

Wildflower meadows have become quite the trend in Europe these days and their more naturalistic style is perhaps a reflection of a growing respect for Mother Nature.

The decline of insect populations around the world — honey bees in particular — has sparked an interest in using gardens to try to reverse this trend.

Loss of biodiversity is certainly an issue in Australia as well. While a wildflower meadow will bring a beautiful aesthetic to your garden, it’s a chance to do something positive for the environment as well.

GETTING STARTED

Creating a wildflower meadow can be made very simple by using species that have the potential to naturalise by seeding themselves at the end of their flowering season, thus creating a seed bank that will establish itself for the following year.

The various species of everlasting daisies are the perfect plants, as their displays are one of the iconic wildflower images of the Australian bush.

There are several species that can form the backbone of your meadow as they are all prolific seeders that can be relied upon to create a stunning show over many months through spring and summer.

To create your own wildflower meadow, add several handfuls per square metre of a suitable Australian plant fertiliser such as Bush Tucker then thoroughly dig over your chosen garden area until the soil is free of any large clods of dirt and the fertiliser is thoroughly incorporated.

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