Paul Smyth of Garden Conversations Goes Wild! Part 2
Last month Paul Smyth of Garden Conversations introduced us to his plans for rewilding his garden. He mused on the importance of providing wildlife habitats in residential areas, as he anticipated a vista of colour, buzzing with bees and other pollinators in his garden this summer.
Paul talked us through how he cleared the area and prepared the seedbed for sowing. Following a long period of early morning frost and a spell of dry weather, Paul finally got the heat and rain he needed to sow his Blooming Native wildflower seeds.
Here's what has happened since!
So, it's nearly the end of May, and at last, my diverse wildflower meadow has been sown. The recent cold weather stalled my plans and delayed sowing, but we got there in the end!
I've largely stuck to my plan, with a few tweaks, and am hugely excited about seeing it grow! It is best to sow wildflower seeds when the weather is favourable, so they can germinate quickly, however some seed can remain viable in the ground for years.
I've spoken a lot about wildflower meadows over the past few years, so it's exciting to finally manage one of my own.
I have mostly chosen native species but did sow a section with Garden and Pollinator seed, which make excellent cut flowers and give maximum colour in the garden and food for the pollinators
I see a new attitude to gardening, with the need for perfection becoming less important as we become more aware of living in harmony with nature where possible.
Our gardens can be a sanctuary for wildlife, providing a habitat while encouraging us to learn a new way to garden.
A practical example of this is a flowering lawn. Instead of having a well manicured lawn with just grass seed, we could mow less frequently and leave an uncut area to encourage flowering plants to grow and provide food for pollinators.
While it is coming to the end of the season to plant wildflower seeds, it's not too late, but I would recommend doing so soon!
Paul's tips for sowing wildflower seeds
Sow onto a stale, or bare seedbed; this will ensure your seeds will not need to compete with other plants such as grass or weeds.
Sow onto a fine, firm seedbed, and the soil should be of a crumbly texture.
The sowing rate for wildflowers is low, and it is important not to exceed this rate.
Mixing the seed well with a filler before sowing and splitting the area into sections will help spread the seed at the recommended sowing rate easier.
Using a bulking agent such as soil, sand or even Ready Break allows for a more even broadcast. Section off your seedbed, for example, into five separate areas, then split up your seed evenly into five different bowls or buckets, with each one covering a section.
After sowing, lightly rake the soil and, or press the seeds into the soil using a roller, or if the area is small, you can use the sole of your foot to press the seed into the soil creating good seed to soil contact.
After sowing any seed, don't forget to water them! As I type this, we have had the most magnificent deluge of rain that had been long overdue.
I expect to see my seeds germinate in the coming tens days, and the annual wildflowers I have sown will come into bloom in about eight weeks. The perennials will begin to bloom next year as they need more time, but patience will bring its reward!
Let the rewilding begin!
I can't wait to see the results.
Read Paul's previous blog on ground preparation here