Why Wildflower Meadows?
They are beautiful and tie your landscape in to the surrounding environment. Adding even a small area of native wildflowers and meadow grasses to your property provides habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, serves as an infiltration area for storm water, and prevents soil erosion, making them valuable components of sustainable landscapes. Once properly planted and maintained over a season or two, they require almost no inputs of water, fertilizer, or energy. Compare this to a well-manicured lawn, which needs frequent watering, annual fertilization, and heavy use of pollution-producing mowers and lawn trimmers.
But, they are challenging to start successfully. Our research is identifying the most efficent and economical ways to start a meadow planting - which species work best, how to start from seed or plugs, how to prepare the site, how to address weed management, mowing, etc. Many farms, public and private land managers are very interested in planting wildflowers for bee habitat and we are monitoring bee activity in our research plots as well.
The following resources provide more information on establishing wildflower meadows
- Planting for Pollinators: Establishing a Wildflower Meadow from Seed - This 12-page fact sheet provides a detailed description of site preparation methods, species selection, planting and establishment requirements for a perennial meadow habitat. The meadow provides floral resources for pollinators all season long as well as other ecosystem services.
- "How to" Webinar on Planting Wildflower Meadows - This recorded webinar is for anyone who wants to create wildflower meadows to enhance pollinator habitat and provide season-long floral resources for bees. Cathy discusses seed mixes and plant selection, site preparation, planting, and maintenance requirements.
- Pollinator Plants for Northern New England Gardens - Create pollinator-friendly gardens to support numerous kinds of native bees, as well as honey bees and other pollinators. This fact sheet provides information on good floral resources for New Hampshire gardens and landscapes.
- Flowering Calendar for Wildflower Species in Southern New Hampshire - Use this calendar to select and combine species to provide flowers in bloom from early spring through late fall. Color bars indicate flower colors.
- Wildflowers for New England Meadows and Pollinator Plantings - A detailed list of wildflower species that have performed well in our meadows and at other sites around NH. Use this list as a starting point for designing a wildflower meadow or pollinator garden of your own. Revised in 2015.
Wildflower Mixes for Trial in New Hampshire - This suggests two options for custom seed mixes that are cost effective for establishing a wildflower meadow on a medium to dry, sunny site.
- Seed Sources for New England Meadows - Where you can purchase wildflower seed.
- Seeds of Common Wildflowers - photos of seeds of some commonly planted wildflowers.
This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Multistate Project 1010449.