Wildflower meadows that make you dream

27/04/2023 - 08:25

It is certainly no coincidence that wildflower meadows are everywhere to be seen. They require much less maintenance than a lawn: only one mowing and little watering. In addition, flower meadows can be adapted to the constraints of the soil. And flowering meadows are in tune with the times because they promote biodiversity.

Terradis SAS, the authorised TerraCottem distributor in France for 27 years, has been the national leader in wildflower seeds for more than 15 years and is a well-known supplier in the flower bedding and hanging basket industry. We talk to Fabien Cool, the sales manager, about "wildflower meadows".

Fabien studied to be a landscape gardener. He started working in a garden centre where he held positions of responsibility. More than 20 years ago, he went into sales, on the road to work exclusively with professionals. He has been with Terradis for 18 years. The range of products he sells consists of 80% for the flower bedding industry and 20% for the natural grass sports pitches.

Terradis sells wildflower meadows to communities and landscape professionals.

When did wildflower meadows come into fashion?

A little over 10 years ago, the fashion and the need were already there but they have evolved. At the beginning there were a lot of products for flower beds and today we have a lot more products for biodiversity (for pollinators) and landscaping. We used to use a lot of annuals and now we are leaning towards perennial mixes.

What about honey flowers?

They are part of biodiversity. The evolution is happening there. In any case, all flowers are melliferous, whatever the flower because they have nectar. The difference is in the degree of sugar content, but in reality insects can forage on any flower.

What about the impact of climate change on flower meadows?

In recent years, we have been sowing more often in the autumn. Because a plant does not die in winter, but in summer. It is important to take this into account. And secondly, it's true that with climate change people are looking for more drought-resistant species, because the aim of making a flower meadow is to water it little. I'm not saying "not" watering, I'm saying "little" watering. One has to be careful as some people think that a flower meadow requires no maintenance at all, that no work has to be done. This is not the case.

Maintenance is above all a good preparation of the soil to start with, the possibility of making a false sowing and then sowing according to the rain that will come afterwards. You shouldn't set a sowing date when there is a weather forecast of 2-3 weeks without rain.

TerraCottem is incorporated at 20 g/m² at a depth of 15 to 20 cm, especially in sandy soils, partly to make better use of water. But the soil conditioner is mainly applied in flower meadows to increase the quality of the blooming. The aim of a flower meadow is to keep it going as long as possible. On average it lasts 3 months and thanks to TerraCottem we have managed to go further.

"In wildflower meadows, TerraCottem is more important in terms of blooming than in terms of water saving."

What is your favourite wildflower mix?

The wildflower meadow mix I like most are the annual mixes. They are more spectacular, more colourful with a lot of diversity. A wildflower meadow used for annual flowering with seed is often horticultural seed, not wild seed. The selected varieties are brighter, flashier and more colourful.

This preference suits me perfectly because I consider myself a dream seller.

"My children say that I sell dreams to people."

After all, it's true. The proof: at the end of January I was in Équemauville, a small town near Honfleur. A council member asked me: "Is it thanks to you that we have the third flower (an award of the Villes et Villages Fleuris competition; the French equivalent of Britain in Bloom)?” I replied that it was thanks to "us", "it's also thanks to you for having installed the products that we sold you and in part thanks to us because we advised you well. We advised you but you took the decision.” He replied: “That's true." This was a team effort. He was very happy with his third flower, especially his town being next to Honfleur! In fact, Équemauville won it partly thanks to a flower meadow. We had made an entire mixture for pollinators and communicated well on the subject.

What are your tips for a successful wildflower meadow?

  • A good preparation of the soil. Turn the soil over well, do a false sowing if necessary.
  • Sow quickly after preparing the soil and sow, not according to a date, but according to the weather. This is essential.
  • Remember to weigh your seeds according to the m² to be sown.

Applying the correct seed rate, at the right time and the right place is paramount for a successful wildflower meadow. These are important criteria. A wildflower meadow done in the right way is your “flower” dream come true.

The image of the wildflower meadow is the Ingalls girls from "The Little House on the Prairie" running down the hill. That's what we should give to our children.

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Do you also have a question for Fabien?

Fabien Cool
Sales Manager Terradis SAS

E-mail: cool@terradis.fr
Mobile: +33 6 09 27 32 59

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