Wildflowers for bees: a beginner’s guide to sowing wildflower seed in spring

This informative blog is written by The Grass People.

Bumblebees are iconic, charismatic and captivating insects that play a vital role in the lives of us all by pollinating our crops and many of our native wildflower species. However, since the 1930’s we have lost 97% of our flower-rich meadows – leaving bumblebee’s hungry and homeless…

Gardens have been acting as a safe haven for bumblebees for many years, with some bumblebee species now more common in urban and suburban gardens than they are in the wider countryside. You can help save the sound of summer from home by providing plenty of bee-friendly flowers in your garden.

Our friends at The Grass People are determined to bring the buzz back to your garden this year and have provided us with some great advice for spring sowing. The Grass People specialise in grass seed and native UK wildflower seeds, so they’re well equipped to guide you on your way to a wildflower haven for our nation’s bees and pollinators.

Mini wildflower garden meadows are easy to create and provide accessible pollen and nectar throughout spring and summer for bees and pollinators. As we approach March and April, the weather generally brings great growing conditions, particularly in heavy soil, for wildflowers to flourish here in the UK, so now’s the time to get sowing.

Select the right wildflowers

When selecting your wildflower seeds be sure to buy a bee friendly mixture, much like Meadow Magic or Bees & Pollinators. A good indicator of plants which are suitable for bees is if they bare the RHS “Perfect for Pollinators” logo.

It is also important to ensure your wildflower seeds are native to the UK. Native plants will be easy to grow in Britain and are filled with food for our native pollinators.  An extra benefit of wildflowers is that they often thrive in partially shaded areas and can easily be incorporated into areas of your garden which you may find challenging for growing other types of plants.


How to create a wildflower meadow

  1. Wildflowers don’t like competition – remove any plants growing in your planned seedbed such as weeds, nettles, docks and couch grass. Be aware weed killer is not advisable in areas of wildlife.
  1. Dig the soil over and firm it down before raking to create a level seed bed.
  1. Sow the wildflower seed either by hand or with a seed spreader. We recommend sowing the wildflower seed at 5g per 1 square meter of soil.
  1. Rake the wildflower seed into the soil and moisten the ground well.
  1. Protect the newly seeded area from birds, cats and the like with a visual deterrent such as hanging C.Ds, creating noise for example using wind chimes or tightly fitting net above the seedbeds until the plants have established.
  1. Ensure the soil is kept moist during hot, dry periods for the best germination.

 

Top tip for growing wildflower seeds 

  • When preparing the soil avoid using fertilisers or manure as this encourages grass growth which crowds out the wild flowers.
  • After you have prepared the soil we recommend allowing the soil to settle for up to 6 weeks. This also allows any weed seeds to germinate, which can then be removed with a hoe or weed killer.
  • For best growth it’s important that the soil is warm and doesn’t dry out. Ensure you water the soil regularly particularly if there is a hot spell.

Following these steps and not only will you have a beautiful wildflower garden but you’ll be helping to conserve the UK’s declining bees and pollinators.

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