Book Review - We made a Wildflower Meadow by Yvette Verner

Our wildflower meadows are disappearing fast and a lot of people are interested in how they might create one and keep these important factors of our environment alive. I asked if I could review this book as it is a subject I am interested in; whilst I have not paid for this book my words and opinions are entirely my own.
We made a Wildflower Meadow was originally published as 'Creating a Flower Meadow' in 1998.  This new edition has been published by Green Books and the author, Yvette Verner is donating half of the royalties to Plantlife . There is much written about flowery meadows and many different seed mixes that people can buy.  Many are not native wildflower mixes but are ornamental annual flower mixes.  There is nothing wrong as such with this, but you need to understand which you are buying and why.  What I like about this book is that is talking about wildflowers.  The illustrations by Susan R Davies of Betany, Wood Anenome and White Dead Nettle to name but a few,  show the beauty of these flowers.  Susan's illustrations throughout this book are perfect for the subject.  They illustrate and decorate and have great charm.  I think my favourite illustration is the actual plan of the meadow itself.  It is so much more than just a plan.

But I have jumped ahead of myself.  This book is the story of the small meadow that Yvette and Mike created.  They decided that they would create a small nature reserve.  They had practised on a smaller scale in their own garden by not mowing the lawn and adding plants and seeds from a wildflower nursery and then they decided to buy a plot of land and go larger.

This is a beautiful story.  It is a story of patience, of love and of some trial and error.  Not everything worked first time, not everything turned out how they thought.  They planted trees, they mowed and scythed and let things be.  There is a section on meadow crafts, explaining how some of the byproducts of the meadow can be used: for instance making a bird table from a tree that has had to be removed.

The growing of this meadow has been so much more than just a private project for Yvette and Mark.  I loved the section on school visits as it is so important that our future generations have the opportunities to learn about nature and why it matters.

Creating the meadow is fascinating to read about but then when Yvette talks about the birds, insects and mammals that visit/live in the meadow then for me that is when the real sense of what was achieved struck home.  The meadow is a beautiful space but most importantly it is a living space in which things can live.  There is the meadow calendar detailing what you can look out for in the meadow in each month of the year.  There is also the invaluable lists at the back of the book of meadow flowers, trees and grasses and the soil requirements they need for the UK and for North America.

We made a Wildflower Meadow by Yvette Verner is published by Green Books and retails at around £12.99 or less.