The establishment of a wildflower meadow "designed" for people to harvest
Wildflower meadows constitute a sustainable approach in landscape design, receptive by the general public. Their use has been gradually expanding worldwide based on their benefits that include increased biodiversity and reduced maintenance resources compared to other forms of planting. Greece has the highest diversity of plant species in Europe. Wildflower meadows are particularly attractive and have been part of Greek tradition for centuries. Many herbaceous plant species found growing in natural meadows across Greece are edible and considered nutritious. Many locals enjoy searching for these species to harvest the young growth and include in their regular diet. This paper studied the effect of sowing rate and amount of irrigation on the establishment of a wildflower mix containing 13 popular (in Greece) edible plant species. The attractiveness of arthropods to the above ground biomass of the wildflower mix was also assessed. In total, eleven species established successfully, five developed in spring, two in the summer and four species showed two growth periods (spring and mid-summer). In general, increased sowing density led to an increase in the number of seedlings of the plant species in the mix. With a few exceptions density did not have an effect on the number of flowering plants. On the other hand, the effect of different amounts of irrigation varied. In some species during spring time the high irrigation treatment led to a decrease in the number of seedlings whereas during summer time in general the high irrigation treatment increased the number of seedlings. Within the meadow mix, 14 species of arthropoda from five orders were identified. The activity of most of the arthropods identified gradually declined from the morning till the afternoon hours. Thus, in the first year after sowing the studied meadow mix established positively and attracted a variety of arthropoda.
Paraskevopoulou, A.T., Spentzas, A., Lahaniotis, K., Karapanos, I., Perdikis, D. and Londra, P. (2017). The establishment of a wildflower meadow "designed" for people to harvest. Acta Hortic. 1189, 119-124
sowing density, irrigation, edible, nutritious, biodiversity, arthropoda