Friday, 3 June 2011

seed collecting

Our summer has come early. The beginning of June should be the beginning of summer, but it feels more like high summer.
Following the driest and hottest spring ever recorded, plants are rushing into flower and seeding precociously.
So, those of us who follow in the footsteps of Sir Joseph Banks must hurry our steps through roadside verges and wastelands or we will miss out on the abundant harvest of wild flower seeds.
If you are new to this blog, you will wonder why I'm collecting 'weed' seeds!?
Over the coming years we hope to develop a large, neglected plot of land as a beautiful sustainable garden - and a major part of this will be achieving as much biodiversity as possible.
Our site is pretty devoid of many of the signature plants of the native countryside - and so we are having to begin from scratch. We are especially keen on using plants that are from our local area. These can't be bought easily and we are on a very restricted budget.
So, tonight we collected bluebell (hyacinthoides non-scripta) seedheads (left). I am drying them on a low temperature in the oven as I type and the house is filled with a strange aroma!
I have finished drying red campion (silene dioica) seedheads. Their tiny seeds spilled out in abundance as their seedheads opened and I have sprinkled some of the tiny red seeds in a seed tray to see whether they will germinate. These are shown above right.
I also collected dried hips from dog rose (rosa canina) some time ago and have sprinkled these onto potting compost.

Our native plants are beautiful and often understated in their simplicity. They are vital in sustaining food chains: dog rose is the food plant of the caterpillars of the V-Pug (Chloroclystis v-ata), Little Thorn (Cepphis advenaria), Shoulder Stripe (Anticlea badiata), Barred Yellow (Cidaria fulvata) and Streamer (Anticlea derivata) moths. Aphids love roses and these aphids in turn benefit ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings which in turn provide food for bats and small birds.


 



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