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denise butcher

i have bought a very expensive box of wild flower seeds which says sow march to june would it be ok to sow now or is it really too late???

Alina W

It's too late for annuals, yes - they won't be able to flower this year, and if we get warmer weather they may not even germinate.

You can either wait until autumn and hope that they overwinter, or keep the seeds somewhere cool (e.g., in their envelopes in an airtight box in the salad drawer of your fridge) until next spring.

Gary Hobson

When you get around to sowing them, you have a choice about whether you sow the seeds in open soil, or in trays and pot them on.

If you sow in open soil there is risk of being eaten by birds and slugs, and germination and growth is subject to the weather.

If you sow in trays, then this is not as simple as sowing other seeds, because the different species of wildflowers will germinate at different times. So it needs a large tray, with seed spread sparsely. Alternatively, seeds can be sown individually in modules, and then potted up individually (which is the best way).

Could someone tell me the name of the thistle that grows to 6ft and has a tall seed head, (not small and round) as I have read that butterflys go for them in the summer and the birds eat the seeds in winter.

are these thistle seeds available to buy

Gary Hobson
rupert44 wrote (see)

Could someone tell me the name of the thistle that grows to 6ft ..

Not quite sure which plant you mean.

Teasel is a wonderful wildlife plant, that's huge and looks a bit like a thistle. It's particularly attractive to bees, and later to goldfinches. This is a snap I took last year...


Teasel is available from most seed suppliers as seeds, and also as small plants from garden centres in Spring. It's a biennial plant, so seed sown right now should make little plants in time for flowering next year.


Alina W

Or do you mean eryngium, the sea holly aka sea thistle?

Details of some varieties are listed here.



I suspect the one you want is Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'.  You can buy it as a plant but it tends to be expensive as it's fashionable or you can google for a seed supplier.

Hi, I thought that cirsium rivulare is sterile and you can not get seeds but if anyone knows where to get them I would like to try to grow this plant thanks.


Cirsium rivulare is a species and will set seed. 

Thanks,Is there a place where I can purchase some.I'm in the U.S.

debra kazalski wrote (see)

Thanks,Is there a place where I can purchase some.I'm in the U.S.

I would suggest you do an on-line search?-most posters on here are in the UK so will be unable to help as regards suppliers

Gary Hobson

The RHS has just announced (18 Jan) that planting wildflowers will be the key theme for the National Gardening Week on 15-21 April 2013.

The RHS and Mr Fothergill’s will be giving away 10,000 packets of wildflower seeds to the first people to register online at from 15 March.

The RHS will also be holding min-mini-meadow workshops at the RHS Gardens at Wisley, Hyde Hall, Rosemoor and Harlow Carr.

You can expect the BBC and GW to be covering this subject in a more depth, come March/April.

Thanks for the info Lyon!

After watching Sarah Raven's programme last year I wrote to the council to see if I could turn and strip of grass between me and my non-gardening neighbours into a pollinating plant strip. Despite explaining that my neighbours neither gardened nor cared if I did this, the council said that as my neighbours rented the council-owned house they were responsible for this strip.

Anyway I just happened to spill a few open packets of Yellow Rattle on the strip last year - oops, I'm such a butter fingers!



Good idea quercus. you can throw in a few dog daisies this year. 

I have just located cirsium rivulare in the U.S. I know it is a thistle,I have only seen photos of this plant on U.K sites .It is very hard to find here on long island,I am having  it sent 3000 miles from california to N.Y.Does any one have this plant ,it looks sooo lovely .    Thanks Debra

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