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Jim Macd

Thankfully I don't have hogweed. I've inherited a few nasties but nothing I can't live with or deal with. I have spent days digging out couch grass but I now just accept it. I had barrel loads of alstormeria but got rid of most of that and I"ve only got a tiny patch of nettle which is, at least, the food plant for some butterfiles.  Oh and Spanglish Bluebells. That's going to take years to get rid of from all those awkward places. I planted English ones when I moved in but I regret that now since I can't let any of them set seed. I might get rid of them if mowing impacts on the other woodland plants. 


Yeah, the Yellow Rattle really does stop the grass in its tracks, even rye grass. I think I'll buy more seed this year then hopefully I can just let it look after itself after that. I have expanses where you just don't see any grass, the speedwell really looks great amongst the yellow flowers. I tried a couple of its relatives, Melampyrum arvensis and M. nemerosum, but no luck with those. I haven't had any luck with Eyebright either, I don't know why since it grows locally. I'll try again this year though with that. The toothworts flowered this year on the willow, though, that was a treat. 


I'd love to get toothworts going, have never considered them, plenty of willow here, worth a thought.

Jim Macd

Yeah, I really didn't think I'd have any luck with them especially since my willows were just a couple of years old but I did something right or they're as easy as growing hogweed. 


Have you fairly damp soil around your willows Jim? The only place I've seen toothwort was by the river in cambridge. Don't know if they're still there, that was years ago, didn't work out what they were for ages.

My willows are all high and dry once the water table goes down in (most) summers.

Jim Macd

Yes, it has been very wet, the water was puddling just a feet away from them since it had nowhere to go, and I dug shallow channels in their direction to get the water away from other things that wouldn't have coped with it; even my gravel bed became a pond. I hadn't thought of that. Maybe had the weather been dry I'd not have had such good luck. Hopefully they're established now and could ride out any dry years. Fingers crossed. 



I hope they'll be OK it's a great thing to get something like that established

Hi nutcutlet

about the hogweed,

i had the smaller native one which i got rid of,  by cutting down to the ground then using one of the awful poisons (which i detest resorting to) then covering the stump with black plastic.   it may not work with the big one,but might be worth a try!  if it saves digging.

good luck

Wild about Flowers
Hi Guys,
Just thought I'd drop you a line to let you know my wildflower garden is
now flourishing nicely. Cornflowers, corn marigolds, red campian, poppies, red
clover and lots of unidentified ones which I've lost the tags for, but they are pretty!!
Lots of bees, also moths in the evening - not seen too many butterflies yet though! Do I need to keep watering the garden in this hot weather every night?
Also can anyone tell me how I get a photo out of my gallery and post it on here
so I can show you some of the flowers? I'm not very computer literate as I only
use it for storing photos, emailing, shopping and research. Many thanks for
any input you can give me!
Jim Macd

Hi WaF,

I wouldn't water your meadow. It can take the dry no problem. Treat them mean. You'll only encourage robust grasses and weeds cosseting it. My best bits are where I've added lots of grit and the bits where I buried the tops soil two or three spits down well out of the way of any long tap roots. A bit extreme perhaps but I wanted to see what would happen. The gravel has worked as well. I wouldn't encourage the red clover. It will add nitrogen since it's a nitrogen fixer along with other legumes. I've avoided them for now but red clover has got in and it is very pretty. I'm not sure what you mean by 'gallery' so I'll leave that part to someone else.

How are the Cowslips or did you hold off sowing them? Can you find any local ones? they're just about ready for collecting where I am. I'm going to sow fresh this year but where I just collected seed and threw them around, pods and all, they've come up well, even in the grass. Obviously you'd get a better germination rate by sowing into plugs but it is natures way so I thought I'd give it a go. By the way, where I put plugs of Cowslips in to grass they haven't grown very much Even after two years, they did flower this year but the ones that were planted into a border are huge and fully mature. I'm not surprised but I didn't have enough room to grow everything on for a year before submitting it to competition from grasses. The grass really does suck the life out of the soil. 

Wild about Flowers
Hi Jim,
Many thanks for all the good advice - I do appreciate it! Will let you know how
it goes with the cowslips and primroses. I have one huge cowslip plant which
I bought as a plug and was one of the first plants I put in the wildflower garden.
Will this survive the winter (roots and all) or will I have to rely on it having dropped
it's seeds (there aren't any in the pods) and getting lots more close by to the
mother plant?
Jim Macd

Hi WaF,

if you only have one Cowslip it wouldn't self pollinate. Without getting into too much detail Primroses have a kind of third and fourth gender called Pin and Thrumb, you need both a Pin and a Thrumb to produce seed. I got my seeds initially (before I found masses of them not too far away) from Emorsgate seeds. I had very good germination. I sowed into plugs in the Autumn. Emorsgate even tell you where their seeds come from, that is Dorset, Lincolnshire, Suffolk and sell 1000 seeds for £1.50 or 10,000 for £4.00 they have a minimum order or £5.00. I said before that Cowslips are or were notoriously bad germinators but I meant from the seed packets you'd buy for 2.99 and get 20 seeds at your local garden centre. I tried in vain for years to get them to grow but now I have hundreds. It's a shame you're not close by. I wouldn't rely on seed from your own plants anyway unless you're isolated since they hybridise so easily. I don't collect seed from my own anymore. I only let a couple develop seed so I know when to go out and collect some. I only collect a small percentage from a local field owned by the council. How did your Ox-eye daisies do? I've got loads of seeds I don't need anymore if you need any. They germinate very well. It'll be time to collect seed for those soon.

Wild about Flowers
HI Jim,
This is the second reply I've sent to you tonight! The other one must be floating
around in cyber space somewhere! Thank you very much for telling me about
the cowslips - I had no idea they were so complicated! I'll have a look around
in the countryside (I live in Dorset, so there should be plenty) and see if I can
find some seeds. I'll also try the Emorsgate seeds you recommende . Thanks
very much also for offering me the oxeye daisy seeds. I actually have lots of
these as my oxeye daisies did very well, but are now almost over. I'm going to
sprinkle some directly onto the ground and store some until next spring. I'm
also hoping to have some red campian seeds to collect, but I think most of
them have already shed their seeds, However, I'll be happy to send you some
if you would like them - I also hope to collect some white campian seeds from
a lane nearby if I'm not too late as they were really pretty ones. Will let you know how it goes! Can you please tell me when cornflower seeds are ready to
harvest as lots of the flowers have died and turned white, but the seeds don't
seem ready to be harvested yet.
Wild about Flowers
Hi Nutcutlet - not heard from you for a while!! Please can you tell me how
to get my wildlower pictures onto the forum? I have some I've transferred
from my camera into the photo gallery on my laptop, but I have no idea
how to transfer them onto here and as you have put some of your wildflower
meadow photos onto the forum, I wonder if you can help me with this, as I'm not
very computer literate! Many thanks!
Jim Macd


Hi, WaF cornflowers are ready only when all the petals have fallen, the end start to brown and open slightly. There's a small window to collect but the plant will have many seed pods at different stages. Same with Campion. You'll have no trouble getting seed. You'll want to get them just before they open or even when they've opened if it hasn't been windy as they can sit there for days unless something brushes past and scatters them. Don't worry, they flower until autumn so you'll be sure to catch some seed. With the cornflowers just gently roll the pods between your finger and thumb until the seeds pop out, obviously you want them to be brown not white. You'll get to recognise what to look for very quickly. Glad you've got plenty of Oxeyes, I looked at mine after I wrote last and saw some where just ready and collected a few to put in areas without them. With the cornflowers you'll need to turn the soil or they won't germinate. I didn't have the energy to turn any turf this year and have just one cornflower. lol. Very pretty and much appreciated though.



Re. your photos if you put the sd card into your laptop you should be able to upload them directly by clicking on the photo/tree icon above. Still don't know what you mean by gallery, but if you know where on your lapto the photos are you should be able to upload in the same way I just described.



Wild about Flowers
Hi Jim
I really am a bit stuck with these photos. They are in a windows photo gallery
on my laptop, but for some reason I just can't seem to get them uploaded onto the
photo tree icon as you suggested. I will just have to be patient and wait untill
my daughter and son-in-law come for a visit so they can sort it out for me, but
that could be quite some time. Never mind, the photos aren't going anywhere in
the meantime! Would you like some cornflower seeds when I collect them?
Thanks very much for all your help!

WAF, click the little tree icon, choose the tab that says 'Your Computer'. Click 'Select' and then a list of stuff saved on your hard drive appears. Navigate to wherever you have your photos stored, choose the photo you want, then click on the 'upload' button.



LF, those roundabouts are great ! Wouldn't it be wonderful if other councils followed their lead.  We have loads of oxe eye daisies on the verges round here, but they haven't go more adventurous than that yet.

big fan of yellow rattle here too - had great germination from the patches I planted last autumn, so will do the same in another area this year, and hopefully it will start to colonise my whole field.

Jim Macd

 Hi, thanks for the offer WaF, very kind. I've still got quite a lot in my fridge. It's almost as cheep to buy 100g than 10g or to buy 10g than 1g of some seeds. I've learned no matter how many I grow I always feel I could have grown more. .

Re those roundabouts, the 'meadows' at the Olympics used many non-natives for visual impact and to raise awareness. It is great to raise awareness however I think if you've got the idea then you may as well do it right and choose a mix of British Natives and benefit all insects not just the bees. After all if you don't get the foundations right you aren't going to be able to build anything substantial. It's the bottom of the food chain that supports the frogs, newts, lizards and the birds. There's no point having lovely, pretty meadow if all you're doing is what the councils have done for decades, that is, non-native flowers en mass. Don't get me wrong it's better than nothing but from 10 feet away you aren't going to see much difference but the wildlife will certainly know the difference.

Seeds get ready for sowing in 1 week to one month. it depends upon seeds some plants takes less time some plants takes much time. when the seeds gets totally dry. it became hard and will be break by givibg sound. then we can say the seeds are fully prepare.