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I have had several tries at growing perenial wild flowers from seed but each time nothing germnated. I am trying to fill my front garden with wild flowers and it is costing me a small fortune to buy established plants. Any ideas gratefully received.
what are you trying rubber and where are you getting the seeds from?
Thanks for the replies. I have tried primroses, cowlips and mixed wild flower perenial seed from a specialist firm. I still have about £15 pounds worth of seed left from this pack but need advise on how to get them to grow.
I mentioned a while ago that I threw down some Yellow Rattle on the strip between my garden and my neighbour's last Autumn. It seems to be working in that the grass hasn't grown half as quick as my lawn.
Any advice would be welcome. I'm thinking of sowing a short-plant wildflower mix in the Autumn after mowing and scaryfing it. Should I add some more Yellow Rattle to the mix?
Digging it over isn't an option - it's officially council land. I'm just accidentally dropping the seeds
Fresher the better with most seeds, primroses/cowslips especially. someoneon here recently said Monty D was sowing them green. I sow tham as soon as they're ripe snd they germinate. If you dry them off they may germinate.or they may not. This goes for a lot of native plants and you may be better off buying one plant, no more expensive than a packet of seed if you buy it small and collecting your own seed and sowing it straight away, or just let the plant seed and transplant the seedlings. Nothing native needs heat to germinate.
Do as nature does. That works for natives. When the plant is shedding seed, sow yours. Put it in a pot, cover with grit to help protect from washout in heavy rain. Put it up a corner somewhere outside and leave it alone. It will be watered when it rains, it will get chilled when it's cold and germinate when it's ready.
q-r, if you've started yellow rattle and let it seed you won't need to do anything else.
Last year I sowed countless seeds from a specialist firm to little avail, .eventually I decided that as well as poor weather the birds we having a feast so I covered with fleece until they had germinated and got established. Didnt have much growth or any flowers. Decided not to cut down in the Autumn and just left. This year they are great and we have at least 9 or 10 different species in flower at the moment. So - just don't give up on them.
Thanks Nut and Catbee!
I threw some of the seeds in a tray of compost and put in my cold greenhouse and to my surprise they have germinated. So I now have 3 trays full of wild flower seedlings but need advise now on how to look after them so they dont shrivel up and die before the spring.
just keep them damp and on the cold side. A cold frame is fine. or even outside in mild weather.
I sowed some wildflower seeds straight into my wildflower garden in late
Autumn and to my surprise they're all ready sprouting well. At least I think
it's my wildflower seeds but maybe it's just weeds!! I think it's mainly the
corncockle seeds which have come up. I also planted cowslips and primrose
plugs at the same time and although they've not actually grown they are
"hanging in there" despite the very wet weather. Hope you have success with
your seeds Rubber. I think the reason mine didn't germinate last spring when
I sowed them in trays was because they didn't get exposed early enough to
really cold weather, so I should think yours will do well.
Rubber, I can't see a mention of the poorer soil most wild flowers enjoy.
Does your front garden have a fairly rich soil?
If it does you need to deplete it. Nearly all the wildflower species need surprising poor soil to do well.
I sow my wild flowers on some very poor soil, which builders left after the conversion.and they do very well. nothing else really grows there apart from buddlia another poor soil lover. Its great for the herbs as well
Good drainage and poor soil are my recipes.
The poor soil thing is about flowers growing in grass meadows. If the soil is rich the grass goes mad and swamps the flowers.
The flowers themselves will grow in whatever they get, (taking acid/alkali. wet/dry etc requirements into account)
Well I think I made a big mistake with my planned wild flower meadow as the grass has grown too well!
Picture if you can the front of my barn with an established lime tree in the centre of a fairly large area which had been rough grass until I set about my master plan. For the first year I chopped down thistles, nettles, docks and other unwanted plants. Then I weed killed endlessly. This was followed by hand picking out loads of bricks and stones. By then I had no energy left to dig over the plot so I hired a man with a large rotavator. Then there was more rubble picking to do.
Next came my fatal error I (and some helpful relatives) raked and seeded the lot. It was meant to be a slow growing grass. By last spring the grass had grown well and I contemplated my next move. Using the tree as a centre point I got my other half to mow paths radiating out from the tree like the rays of the sun! Then as my attempts at growing wild flowers from seed had failed I spent last summer digging holes in the unmown strips of grass and planting established wild flower and perennials. This proved to be both hard work and costly as there is quite a large eexpanse to plant up. At the end of the summer I strimmed the whole lot down carefully avoiding all my flowers and raked up all the grass!
My problem now as you can imagine is too much grass which threatens to overwhelm the flowers. My vision of wandering along the mown paths enjoying my ?? wild flower meadow is a distant fancy.
My husband says I should buy a sit on mower and mow the lot down. My son in law says he will lend me some electric fencing and a few sheep to solve the problem. I am so disappointed!!!!!!!
Rubber, what you need is a good big packet of Yellow Rattle. I usually sow it in autumn but it would be worth trying now, we're bound to get some cold weather before spring. It's semi-parasitic on grass and really cuts the grass back.
What have you planted in the grass? I cut my meadow completely at the end of summer, I don't strim round the flowers.
I doesn't come quickly, mine can still look an unimpressive mess on a bad year.
I like the radiating paths idea
How would you go about planting the seed as the grass is very thick? I planted all sorts of perenials in groups of three and a few wild flowers. But to be quite honest I might habe groups of two by next summer as some died before they got going. There were meadow buttercup, bladder campion, yarrow, field scabious, meadow clary, ladys bedstraw, black knapweed, greater knapweed, wild carrot, meadow cranesbill, hyssop, st johns wort and fox and cubs for the wild flowers. Then coreopsis, centaurea, lythrum robin, leucanthemum, oenothera, inula, sedum, phlox, monarda, polemonium, heliopsis, aster, galiardia, solidago, liatris, salvia, verbena bonar..., campanula, aconitum, lobelia, echinacea, linaria, cleome, catanache and echinacea purpurea. So as you can see I invested quite a lot of money and a great deal of tme and effort digging up the grass to plant them. If they were all to grow there is still room to plant the sme amount again without it looking crowded. So what next???
Mow it all rubber, and remove the mowings. Some things will do well, there are some there that won't but that's always the case. Give it a bit of a rake here and there so you can see soil and sow not too thickly. Don't mow it again til the plant has set seed. After that it looks after itself. You have some plants there that will never grow in grass, I'd leave them to live or die as they see fit. Meadows are a complex entities. Not all the same. You can mow up til hay time them leave it for late flowerers, that won't work where you've sown the YR. Or you can leave it through spring and early summer and mow late summer, that works with spring bulbs, early flowerers and rattle.
It takes a long time to get a balance and see what works with your soil and your plants.
Will try as you suggest but doubt whether I will be able to see any soil to sow into.