Seeds for Bees
Welcome to your Stroud Town Council wildflower seed packet – here's what to do next!
What seeds do I have?
You have a mix of tough, colourful meadow flowers: yarrow; common knapweed; wild carrot; field scabious: oxeye daisy; black medick; wild parsnip; salad burnet; selfheal; red campion; and bladder campion.
When do I sow?
Your seeds will have their best chance in late Summer or the Autumn, when grasses and other plants are dying back. In Spring, they might get crowded out by all the fast growth around them.
Do I need to dig?
No – the opposite! Your seeds won't grow if they're buried or covered over.
Where do I sow?
On rough, grassy ground where there's bare bits for your seeds to fill up. It should be firm and dry enough for you to walk on without leaving footprints.
First mow the grass really short (30mm, about 1 inch). If you can, mow it a few times over a couple of months before sowing.
Pull out any plants such as docks or thistles that might compete with your seeds and win. Do not use chemicals!
Make gaps in the grass by raking – you want enough bare soil. Be careful around larger plants like fruit bushes, roses, hedges and trees that you don't disturb their roots.
What if the ground’s completely bare?
Mix your seeds with a suitable mix of seeds of short-growing grasses such as: common bent; crested dogstail; red fescue; smaller cat's-tail; or smooth-stalked meadow grass.
How do I sow?
Scatter it by hand so it just sits on top of the ground. Split your seeds into two lots, and scatter one from one side of your plot, and the other from the other.
If you mix your seeds with some moist sand it can help you scatter them more evenly (and you can see where you've been).
Only if the soil's dry, walk gently over your seeds and then give them a light watering. This'll help them press against the soil and get started.
If the soil's wet, leave them alone – walking across wet soil will squish it together and make it difficult for the seeds to catch hold.
How much ground can I cover?
You should have about 5g (a fifth of an ounce) of seeds. That's enough for 7.5m2 (9 square yards, or two-thirds the size of a typical car-parking space).
Do I need to mow?
Not much. Your flowers need all of the Summer in which to bloom, so that means putting the mower away by the start of May and not bringing it out until after they've flowered, which'll likely be August.
In August do a hay cut, which means mowing the grass long (50mm, 2 inches) and leaving the mowings to dry out for a week, during which they'll drop their seeds for next year's flowers.
When the week's up, gather up the mowings, and compost them. (If you leave them where they are, they'll feed the grass, and the grass will crowd out the flowers.)
The rest of the year keep the grass shortish, but never short. Don't mow for the sake of it. Once more in the Autumn, and once in Spring before the daffodils should be enough. Insects need places to hibernate and hide over the Winter, and your stubbly grass will be perfect.
How long will it be before I see flowers?
It depends on how lucky you are and how closely you look. Flowers establish themselves over several seasons, so to begin with you might have only one or two, which you don't spot, then suddenly one year there's loads. Be patient, and in time each Spring will bring surprises because you're not only making a good place for the seeds in this packet to grow, you're making a good place for flowers of all sorts, that'll come in on the breeze and on birds' and bees' feet.
Happy sowing, and here's hoping this is the first day in a lifelong wildflower adventure!