Monday, 21 September 2015

spreading wildflowers...

field scabious
Late summer/early autumn sees a stooped figure skulking along the local roadside verges and waste land. Watch this wrong 'un closely. He's fingering wildflower seed heads and furtively slipping the seeds into envelopes and small bags.

But not a wrong 'un at all really. Away from protected sites, the collection of wildflower seeds is completely ethical. I don't collect on a commercial scale - a seed head here or there-  and my motive is pure. I'm increasing the biodiversity of our developing wildflower meadows with seed that is from the local gene pool.

Sadly, areas for wildlife are so fragmented these days that there is little chance of wildflowers that are not here already making an appearance without a little helping hand. So, I'm giving them a hand up.

Successes so far have been yellow rattle, red campion, cowslip, primrose, honeysuckle and foxgloves. Each of these is now thriving and increasing the biodiversity of our gardens.

field scabious seedlings
This years' additions include seeds from a recent Lincolnshire visit - field scabious (knautia arvensis), a diminutive wild onion or leek and bladder campion (silene vulgare). None of these is currently growing in the meadows so I potted freshly collected seeds into a mixture of coarse sand and spent potting compost, watered and labelled them and covered each pot with a loose fitting recycled plastic bag.

Each of these precious and beautiful wild flowers is not only valuable in their own right - they frequently provide food for the caterpillars of specialist moths or butterflies so they are doubly important.

Todays' rain kept me from work outside so time to pot on some of the seedlings - scabious and bladder campion.

They've been transplanted into individual

plastic plug containers and I hope that they can get a hurry on so that they can be transplanted as vigorous little plants into the developing wildflower meadow areas in the next month.

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