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Jim Macd

Latest posts by Jim Macd

horsetail weed

Posted: 08/06/2014 at 14:55
Hostafan1 wrote (see)

horsetail / marestail survived being covered in ice during the ice age: 

Really? Wow! 

Incredible luck

Posted: 08/06/2014 at 14:37

Yup, the whole reason I emphasise concentrating on natives supplemented only by a few non-natives. You won't get adults to feed if there's no larval food plants. l know we have gardens not wildlife reserves but if wildlife is the raison d'être for your efforts then best not to get too distracted with exotics. On the other hand many natives don't feed a great deal if anything and even then if their range doesn't include your house is there any point growing that ugly look plant if nothing is going to eat it? Or should you grow it for the pure conservation aspect of our native species? It isn't easy to get information. And the information available isn't always the easiest to understand. Take Oaks, it's estimated that about 284 species of insect (depending on your source) eat it or live on it in some way where as the sycamore only has 15 but nobody seems to tell you if those 15 species of insect on a sycamore supply an equal weight of food for birds as the 284 species of insects on an oak. Having said that I don't think that should be your whole outlook on it. It's a big subject and many perspectives. Raw data isn't much use to most of us.

horsetail weed

Posted: 06/06/2014 at 11:18


vigilance is the key as FG says. Think of it this way, no plant, not even Japanese Knotweed can survive without light, so as long as you keep at it, whatever method you're choosing to knock it back, then it will work. Hoe it, regularly, once every two weeks at least is the simplest method. I have a bit of it in my garden but it isn't a problem because I keep on top of, plant densely around it and pull it out every time I see it. If you leave it to recover from whatever method you've chosen though, all the effort you've been in so far has been for naught. That's what you've got to remember. But it is a native plant and part of our ecology, it's not Japanese Knotweed or Spanish Bluebells, or Mink... so, ultimately it's only a problem if you see it as such.

Growing wildflowers

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 18:34

Yeah, I was going to add, a turf stripper would make short work of it, but if you don't have grass, then you don't have turf. Or, pretend, after all corn poppies aren't native anyway. Have some small flowered variety of oriental poppy. This one is a bit orange, but I've got a pillar box red variety waiting to take over. The bees don't mind though. These were in when I moved in and I've just not had the heart to yank them out. They've grown on me too much now.



 Oo, that wasn't meant to happen, that's because I had two windows going at the same time.

Growing wildflowers

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 18:31

I hope this inspires you to include some wild grasses which you can get from Emorsgate seed for very little. There's quite a bit of rye in here which you wouldn't normally want but my OH wouldn't let me strip the turf the first year we moved in an now it's almost too late, but as the meadow gets established I'll get a turf stripper and have an annual bit in a section every year. I'll just turn over the turfs so hopefully the perennials won't mind too much.


Growing wildflowers

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 18:18

Yeah, I was going to add, a turf stripper would make short work of it, but if don't have grass, then you don't have turf. Or, pretend, after all corn poppies aren't native anyway. Have some small flowered variety for oriental poppy.


Growing wildflowers

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 18:02

Grass is part of the meadow, and if you use wild grasses they're as important as the other flowers. Many moths will only feed on those grasses and those moths will feed the birds and bats. You're creating an ecosystem if you're doing it right. And my impression is you want to do it right. But anything you do is better than doing nothing so don't be disheartened.

Growing wildflowers

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 17:58

Just edited my above post, you might not have seen it all. I'm not sure what you mean about "will it not destroy the other seeds of the mix I used?"

But no, you can't dig it over every year. Hire a rotavator maybe but you'll have to live with perennials if you don't want to do that. I don't know of any other way. Like I said I've only got a few poppies this year because I didn't dig over and I really wanted loads being the centenary of the first world war. 

Growing wildflowers

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 17:45
nick nicolas wrote (see)

Thanx Jim,

point taken, & another thing these Boston seeds I was given they do not say if they are Perennial, which I would prefer instead of plant every year. 

So I wonder what should I do end of summer or next year, do I moan them down or what happens?       ......nick 

for checking if something is annual or perennial pfaf is a good place to look, followed by wiki of course, the trouble with wiki is every page is formatted slightly differently so finding the right bit of info quickly isn't so easy. I have pfaf store as a search engine. 

For example

By the way, a lot of seed suppliers only give very general advice, if any on how to sow your seed so I check with pfaf first to find out if the seed needs special treatment. Again, another example of why you can't always leave it to nature. sorry, take Thrift, Ameria maritima, a lovely plant, and fairly common on the coast. I've always had some so never bothered trying to grow it from seed until I moved here and wanting a clean slate wanted to collect local seed. It didn't grow. I checked on pfaf, and after soaking the seeds got hundreds come up. Saves you wasting seed. I just did the same thing with hounds tongue. Sowed it without thinking. Realised what I'd done after watering in the seeds. I soaked the next batch and they all came up in just over  a week. First lot still not come up. 

Growing wildflowers

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 17:39
nick nicolas wrote (see)

Having little else to do I get anxious about all these things so I better leave it to nature that does it best.         .........nick

You might need to keep an eye on the watering Nick, however I'm sure it will be fine but a little  tongue in cheek, if you leave it to nature you'll have oak woodland. There's nothing natural about a meadow. Anyway, watch to make sure it doesn't dry out and it will be fine, it's not so late. 

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