The beauty of a Scottish golf course has been enhanced by a wildflower area which has added colour to a prominent site and given it more of a wow factor.
Members of the Meldrum House Golf Club in Aberdeenshire can appreciate it while playing, as the area lies near the first tee and between the 17th and 18th fairways, and can also admire the results from the clubhouse.
What once lacked the impact golf course manager Kenny Harper required has been transformed thanks to a standard wildflower mixture from Germinal Seeds GB (formerly known as British Seed Houses).
The WFG4 mix for neutral soils, containing 20% wild flora and 80% grasses, was sown in spring 2012. A wet and cool summer meant progress was slow to begin with but the following year’s warm and sunny conditions were ideal and the wild flowers established to give a bright and colourful display through the summer months.
Kenny explained: “It made a big difference to a site which never really had the impact we were looking for. We had tried various planting in the past but for a number of reasons it did not work. I like to keep things fairly natural on the course and looked at wildflower options.
“I took the advice of Alistair Eccles, technical sales representative from British Seed Houses, and chose this mix as I already use their grass seed and it gave me what I needed. We saw the results coming through in the second summer with the tall daisies and poppies for example. We are looking forward to an even better display in summer 2014 as it becomes more established.
“It is a work in progress and members have appreciated what we are trying to do. I have not recorded an increase in wildlife activity but I am sure that a wildflower meadow mix has to have a positive effect.”
No fertiliser was added, in line with advice from Germinal Seeds GB, and the foliage was cut down in the autumn to just four centimetres with the clippings removed to prepare for the following year.
Meldrum House Golf Course is said to be one of Scotland’s most beautiful golf courses and is set against a mature woodland backdrop. One of only a few luxury private golf clubs in Scotland measuring more than 7,000 yards, it is open to members only and guests of Meldrum House Country Hotel.
Richard Brown, Amenity Sales Manager at Germinal Seeds GB, said: “We have been supplying a comprehensive range of UK native wildflower mixtures for more than 25 years. Our UK native seed stocks are produced on an annual basis to provide fresh seed.
“We have technical advisers who can provide specialist advice and as well as standard mixtures we can also supply bespoke mixtures. The ‘WFG’ range of wild flora mixtures is designed to suit different soil types and aspects and is easy to use.”
In addition to the visual beauty, the flowers encourage bees, butterflies and pollinating insects while also preserving our national wild flora heritage.
Wildflower areas need to be maintained if they are not to turn back into rough grassland and a cutting schedule that maintains a good diversity of species is essential, Richard advised.
Generally speaking wildflower mixtures can be sown all year round, but not in periods of extreme drought or water logging, and ideally sowings should be made into clean, weed-free ground.
Richard will run a seminar on ‘Wildflower Mixtures for the Golf Course’ at BTME, Europe’s foremost turf care show, in Harrogate on 21 January. He will provide tips on choosing the correct mixture, ground preparation, sowing and on-going maintenance
For further information visit www.germinalamenity.com
Meldrum House www.meldrumhouse.com