Today is World Bee Day! The perfect day to think about sowing wildflowers to help bees to survive. Shop here.
I am delighted to welcome Julie Power from Connecting to Nature in Waterford to write this month's guest blog. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Connecting to Nature
For me, one of the best sounds of Summer is the sound of bees working their way through my wildflowers, foraging for nectar. Connecting to Nature is about feeling close to the wider natural world. Our connection with nature is more important for mental wellbeing than simple exposure to nature. Noticing and engaging with nature's beauty is key to the wellbeing benefits of nature therapy. A relationship that helps us feel good.
Scientists document global declines in insect populations, which can be attributed to the loss of habitat and food sources. While native insects evolved to detoxify and digest native plants, they lack the enzymes necessary to eat non-native plants, including ornamental trees and other plants commonly used in landscaping.
By sowing native wildflowers, you are boosting the web of life: Native plants feed insects, which in turn feed birds, bats, and other wildlife. Adding even a few native wildflowers to your garden this year can provide a habitat for butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife. It is a great way to get started, whether you're a beginner or a more experienced gardener.
So, now that you know the benefits of sowing wildflowers, let's find out how you create a successful wildflower garden. Growing wildflowers is probably easier than you think – and the window to sow wildflowers may be wider than you expected. As a general principle, Irish wildflower seeds are best planted in either Spring or Autumn, when soil temperatures are between 6 degrees Celsius and 10 degrees Celsius.
Preparing the ground for sowing wildflowers
The preparation of your soil may determine the success of your wildflowers. It is crucial to create a stale seed bed, that is a seed bed where nothing is growing. Existing grass, weeds and other plants will compete with your wildflowers, so it is really important to ensure the area is free of these plants. The sooner in advance of sowing, you can begin soil preparation, the better!
How to sow wildflower seed
Check your packet for the recommended sowing rate on Connecting to Nature mixtures. This is noted on the front of the packets. Do your best to stick to this rate for the best results. Before sowing, rake the soil, creating a fine, firm seeds bed. The soil should be of a crumbly texture. Scatter your seeds over the seed bed, then press the seeds into the ground by lightly raking or by using a roller, your foot, or hand to press the seeds into contact with the soil and moisture. Water the seeds lightly, making sure that you don't wash the seeds away. Subsequent watering should be undertaken if the seedlings aren't receiving sufficient water to thrive. There is nothing worse than watering enough to encourage germination and then having the seedlings curl up and die in a drought. If in doubt, wait for rain.
Managing wildflowers after sowing
If you have sown a mixture containing perennial species, it is essential to cut your meadow or wildflower patch back to about 7cm in height in the Autumn and then remove these cuttings. I can't stress the importance of removing these cuttings enough. Removing the cuttings will keep soil fertility low, and so you don't smother the emerging plants.
I hope I have encouraged you to give wildflowers a go. Wildflower seeds reward in so many ways. They create a habitat for pollinators to survive and thrive, support biodiversity, promote our wellbeing and bring so much joy!
Whether it's a window box, a patio pot or a garden border anyone can get involved! We are encouraging you to join us in #RaisingTheBlade and #BloomingNative this season.
Less frequent mowing means more food for pollinators and more time for us to enjoy the new life the seeds will bring - a beautiful bloom, butterflies, and bees.
We are thrilled to collaborate with Ode to Earth on a Wildflower Seed Mix for Bees and Butterflies in compostable packaging.
Enjoy the Bloom! More information on native wildflowers, meadow lawns, pollinator gardens and how-to plant wildflowers is available on www.connectingtonature.ie