Wild Flower growing project

January 2019

This year I am trying something different for 2 projects I am carrying out this year. Growing wildflower plug plants for the Community Fruit Area project and creating a wild area for a local school. Follow me through the ups and downs as I try to grow the following wildflowers.

Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus minor
This variable, erect and stiff stemmed plant is semi-parasitic on the roots of various herbs and grass. It acts like a colonising plant leading the way for other wildflowers to follow by reducing the grasses thus opening up the land. It’s dark green leaves are coarsely toothed and stalkless. Borne in the leafy spikes are yellow flowers they can also be brownish with violet or white teeth on the upper lip. The fruit capsule turn brown when ripe and contain many seeds which become loose and rattle.

yellow rattle
Yellow rattle flower

Field scabious Kanautia arvensis

This plant is rather robust and hairy with purple spotted stems and basal leaf rosettes. The lower leaves are pinnately lobed while the basal ones are spoon shaped and undivided, the upper are smaller and less divided.

Field Scabious flower

Foxglove Digitalis purpurea

This plant produces a large leaf-rosette in it’s first year which are hairy and greyish green. In the second year a erect leafy flower stem is produced with soft hairy leaves which are smaller than the lower ones they are also unstalked. Drooping funnel shaped flowers are pink or purple with darker spots inside. Fruit capsules which contain many seeds are produced from the lower flowers first slowly working it’s way up the flowering stem. This plant is poisonous.

Foxglove flowers

Mallow Malva sylvestris

Another robust, hairy plant with erect and occasionally sprawling leaves. The leaves are alternate and rounded in outline but have 3 to 7 shallow, blunted lobes which are toothed. On the upper leaf axils flowers in 2 or more clusters are produced which have 5 deeply notched pink or purple petals. The seeds are produced in a ring of one seeded segments.

Mallow flower

The seed are being grown in 2 ways the first is outside in a seed cage converted from a dog cage. I have had problems in the past with bird getting at the seeds hopefully this will persuade them leave my seeds alone and just eat the ones in their bird feeders.   Secondly I have sown seeds in a small plug plant propagator in the potting shed which is frost free which I am trying for the first time. So far the first signs of movement are from the Mallow in the plug plant propagator.

seed cage
seed cage
Plug plant propagtor
Mallow seedlings

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