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Planting the Backdrops for My Wildlife Art

I absolutely love wildflower meadows and have planted them throughout my garden. These meadows link the different areas of my garden and create corridors for the wildlife that I paint.

My living room looks out onto a wildflower meadow instead of a lawn.
The project began many years ago with a wildflower meadow I planted along the banks of my gallery car park. This turned out to be so beautiful I decided to also plant a meadow outside my living room window. I wanted to be able to look out onto a mass of flowers instead of a lawn and so I gathered seeds from the gallery car park and sowed them into the much wider patch in front of my house.
The wildflower meadow is a draw for insects and birds
It didn’t take long before the whole area was bursting with beautiful wildflower blooms. These soon attracted swarms of butterflies and insects and, in late summer, drew a wealth of birdlife to feed on the seed heads. I even had a charm of goldfinches feeding here along with linnets and yellowhammers. And my resident colony of tree sparrows seemed to also really enjoy the new area. 
wildflower meadow
wildflower meadow
Sowing wildflowers in early spring
It took a bit of work to get this large area established and looking back it now seems a long time since the cold spring day I first sowed this mixture of seeds. I spent a lot of time preparing the ground. The seeds were sown in what is actually a very thin layer of soil covering 400 tons of solid chalk which had been dug out when my new studio was built.
sowing a wildflower meadow
wildflower seeds
I chose chalkland species for my wildflower meadow

The Yorkshire Wolds is chalkland and so the species that thrive here are ones that have adapted to the chalky soil. These include wild carrot, red clover, ox-eye daisies, horse shoe vetch, self heal, yarrow, harebells, and greater knapweed.

wildflower meadow

 
Adding More Meadows

It wasn’t long before I began to add more wildflower areas to the garden and I now have wildflower meadows throughout my two-acre plot. These link the garden visually and also provide corridors for the wildlife that visits. The video below shows how each autumn I gather seeds and then plant them in a new area the following spring. I now have a meadow behind my art studio and this links to wildflower patches all the way around my gallery car park, through my woodland, and back to my house.

 

The wildlife loves it – I’ve even spotted hares loping through the grasses and one even chose to hide her young leverets here. Click here to read the story.

My wildflower meadow acts as a larder for my wild art subjects

I’m hoping this new ‘larder’ outside my living room window will feed this population over the winter and provide me with plenty of new painting models at the same time. Some of my best compositions, like the goldfinch feeding on a thistle head and the wren on a bracken frond below, are of birds feeding on seed heads.

My wildflower attracts insects and butterflies
Meanwhile, the butterflies in the meadow, including marbled whites, have been excellent models for sketches, like the one below. On one occasion I counted 40 marble whites in just 20 minutes! Most people’s living rooms look out onto a nice neat lawn, but I look on to a meadow of wildflowers. I like to think it is not just a beautiful backdrop but also a working environment.
butterflies on the wildflower meadow
Butterfly Sketch | Robert E Fuller
 
 

My Wildflower Art Backdrops

The painting backdrops inspired by my wildflower meadow
These flowers have also been useful as studies for so many backdrops in my paintings. 
Hare in Wildflowers | Limited Edition Print |30x21cm | Shop Here

I often spot hares loping through the wildflower meadows and have painted them with the flowers around them. Above is a hare in harebells, and below a hare with a dandelion clock.

Hare and Dandelion Clocks | Limited Edition Print |23x15cm | Shop Now
My hedgerows and shrubs are also native, wild varieties and they play host to a wide variety of birdlife, including a bumper brood of rare tree sparrows and the long tail tits, featured in the paintings below.
planting a wildflower meadow for art
Tree Sparrows | Limited Edition Print |30x15cm | Buy Now

 

wildflowers for art
Long Tail Tits on Blackberry | Limited Edition Print | 23x15cm |Click here to buy
 

Read More

A lifelong project: planting a garden for my wildlife art
 
Designing a wildlife garden: planting the garden at Fotherdale Farm
 
How wildflowers planted by the farmer next door provided me with a bird-watching bonanza
 
 

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7 comments on Planting the Backdrops for My Wildlife Art

  1. Wild meadows look so much better than mowed lawns. Your Goldfinch painting is just great. I also love to paint small passerines among the weeds and wildflowers.

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