Pet-Friendly Meadow Flowers

PET CHECK BLOG Meadow flowers

\\\ Pet-Friendly Flowers And Plants

\\\ Updated Summer 2022

Are Meadow Plants And Flowers Pet-Friendly?

What Are Meadows And Meadow Plants?

It’s been, and still is, an enchanting dog walk to the local park this summer, with many grass verges being transformed into beautiful meadow gardens by the local council, using slithers of common land, and footpaths, providing such a wonderful bright colour palette. The local parks have areas dedicated to growing the grass, leaving the grass uncut during the summer, ‘wild gardening,’ which dogs absolutely love, hiding, jumping, and rollicking around in.

Where we live, we haven’t even had to drive to see meadow flowers this year, they’ve been planted right outside our home in abundance where our local residents have privately paid to have their tiny grass common paths outside their homes, turned into an oasis of colour. Seemingly, residents have been able to take more time to appraise the locality they live in, due to the recent pandemic, and where residents have more time to ‘be local’ and ‘think local’.

There are reports in the national news that large councils have taken to planting on busy highways, and even stretches of motorways, after being lobbied for years by wildlife conservationists to improve meadow planting levels.

One forgets that there are now more than ever millions of dogs and cats living alongside us in the UK, this important fact can be overlooked. Their health can come under attack by planting the ‘wrong sort’ of plants, bushes, and trees. Many are simply toxic to dogs and cats, so owners need to take great care of their garden planting compositions. Simple daily walks to local parks and open spaces can often include dogs chewing at floor-sweeping toxic shrubbery, falling leaves, and berries leading to toxic veterinary emergencies.

Summer Meadow Plants

And Flowers

Planted On

Local Verges

Across The UK


What Are Meadow Plants And Flowers?

Meadow is a word derived from a 12th Century word meaning ‘land that is covered or mostly covered with grass’.

‘Meadow flowers’ continued as ‘wild flowers blooming in the meadow appearing from Spring each year from their underground roots’.

Traditional Meadow Flowers Include

Grasses – including Crested Dog’s-Tail, Sweet Vernal Grass, Yorkshire Fog,

Daisies – including Greater Knapweed, Oxeye Daisy, and Cat’s-ear

Pea and vetch – including Red Clover, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Bush Vetch, and Sainfoin

Meadow – Crane’s-bill, Lady’s Bedstraw, Cowslips, and Wild Carrot.

Avoid Buttercups

Dogs And Cats Can Find These Toxic

Buttercups grow quite profusely in local parks, side verges, open land, and even on our own garden lawns, but you need to swerve your pet away

There is one traditional flower, the humble and very pretty buttercup (Buttercup Ranunculi’s) according to The Dog Trust and The Cats Protection, where this plant can cause severe problems for dogs and cats, and wise to keep your pets away.

Modern Meadow Flowers

The modern gardening take on meadow flowers has moved on from the traditional meadow flowers, away from the natural plants once found, and now include plants that are actually annual plants, plants that you need to sow, grow, flower and will die all in one year.

For these flowers to continue, the seeds from the flowers need to scatter in the wind and hopefully, some may manage to germinate for the next year.

Gardening sites sell packs of ‘meadow flower’ seeds which are mainly made up of a variety of annuals. They cause a riot of colour that we all want to enjoy and can include THE TOXIC POPPY.


Corn Cockle

Opium Poppy, (Papaver somniferum), flowering plant of the family Papaveraceae, and was originally native to Turkey.

Opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin, all well-known pain killers, are derived from the milky latex found in the poppy’s unripe seed capsule, so it’s important that your dog and cat stay away from the striking poppies which can be harmful if eaten in quantity.

Corn Cockle is another plant like poppies, harmful if eaten by dogs or cats.

Modern meadow flowers often include variations of Cornflower, Corn Marigold, and Corn Chamomile which are non-harmful.

3 ‘Modern Meadow Flowers’ For Dogs And Cat To Avoid

1. Buttercups 2. Poppies 3. Corn Cockles     

If your garden is full of poppies, corn cockle, and buttercups then it may be a good idea to watch if your dogs and cats aren’t munching their way through them to avoid a costly trip to the vet, showing nasty toxicity problems. Better still, don’t plant them the following year.

For more information about toxic plants, indoors and outdoors, consult the excellent Dog Trust pdf leaflet available for cats, the dangerous outdoor plant leaflet for cats the SAFE outdoor plants leaflet for cats. 

Why Are Councils Planting Meadow Gardens?

Plantlife the wildlife plant conservation charity has been lobbying for years to change our ways of thinking where the UK has been estimated to have lost 97% of its wildflower meadows in less than a century. Their focus is on increasing awareness and planting not just on pieces of unused land, but roadside verges and coastal dune regions.

Plantlife consider

“flowers should be allowed to pollinate and work their magic, and seeds can ripen and fall to the ground. In this way, the floral display will become better and better every year”.

Council parks and gardens have been piloting up and down the country, leaving parts of parks ‘untidy’, seeing what effect it has, and importantly another factor, the cost savings involved with less need to summer grass cut.

PET CHECK BLOG Local rewilding campaigns in parks

The Mid Sussex BLUE Campaign poster was spotted when walking in a local park recently. One of many councils responding to the drive by the UK and local views on the need for rewilding land.


Flower ID Apps

There are numerous flower ID, identification apps available to download FREE and have on your mobile, which can be very useful if your pet is partial to taking an interest in vegetation, particularly plants you don’t recognise when out dog walking, or in your garden. Check it quickly with the toxicity leaflets from The Dogs Trust or Cat Protection to ensure your pet isn’t eating anything it shouldn’t be.

Try some of the following FREE Apps – check out further from the Google Play Store and Apple download store. There are various customer reviews left to read about the apps, where all are rated.

  • FlowerChecker is available on Mobile Os; iOS, Android
  • Smart Plant Home is available on Mobile OS, iOS, Android
  • PlantNet Plant Identification available Mobile Os; iOS, Android
  • Picture This is available on Mobile Os; iOS, Android
  • PlantSnap is available on Mobile Os; iOS, Android
  • Plantix is available on Mobile Os; Android



Recent articles from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have provided a wake-up call to all UK gardeners to make a way in their gardens for more planting to help UK’s sustainability Global Climate problems. “pull up paving slabs” and “plant trees and flowers” They believe that this push will help cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost garden wildlife will help tackle the current climate crisis. Planting meadow flowers on small scraps of unused land is a perfect way to help. The Express Newspaper reported. Read more.


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