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How to care for wildflowers after you’ve picked them – and how to plant your own wildflower meadow

Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash

Spring is starting to spring and with it, loads of lovely wildflowers are beginning to crop up.

Clusters of forget-me-nots, bluebells and daisies are gracing our parks and meadows, adding a little bit of much needed colour to the scenery.

You might even be tempted to pick a few and bring that colour into your home – it beats buying a bunch of nearly-dead daffodils from the local supermarket.

But if you want your bouquet of wildflowers to last, there are a few things you need to consider.

How to care for wildflowers after you’ve picked them

Wildflowers aren’t destined to wilt and day after only a few days, in fact they can last much longer.

But you need to do a little more than rip the flowers from their stems and leave them in a cold vase.

Here’s how to keep wildflowers fresher for longer.

Harvesting your flowers

The time that you choose to pick your flowers can actually have an impact on how long they keep, and the earlier you harvest them, the better.

‘Harvest early in the morning using clean florist secateurs rather than your fingers,’ mindful gardening expert Kendall Platt tells Metro.co.uk.

‘This is when the flowers are most filled with water after the cool temperatures over night and before the sun has started to shine on them.’

When you cut the stems, cut them long rather than shot, and always make sure to cut above a bud or where a leaf joins the stem.

‘This will allow the plant to keep producing more flowers,’ explains Platt.

Feeding your flowers

Before you arrange them, you need to make sure your flowers are nourished.

Still keeping them fairly long, re-cut the stems, this time at a 45 degree angle to aid water uptake.

‘Once you’ve cut them, plunge the flower stems into a clean bucket of tepid water and leave them somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight to have a long drink for at least two hours,’ says Platt.

Arranging your flowers

After their feed, the flowers are ready to arrange.

‘Start by prepping a vase or even a jam jar with lukewarm water and mix through some flower food, which will increase the vase life of the flowers,’ advises Platt.

Choose and arrange your flowers and trim them one more time so that they fit into the vase, again at a 45 degree angle.

‘This ensures the flower stems can take up water even when they are resting on the bottom of the vase,’ says Platt.

When arranging, Platt suggests including odd numbers of each type of flower because this is more visually pleasing to our brains – and voila, you have your very own long-lasting wildflower arrangement.

How to plant wildflower seeds

Want to improve your selection of wildflower arrangements? Why not grow your own.

If you have an outdoor space with some grass, growing your own wildflower meadow could be a great idea: not only will it make your garden more visually appealing, but it will give you something to nurture, and not to mention it will attract the bumble bees!

‘Wildflowers with their natural, wild look are most appealing when grown as a meadow in a garden,’ says Platt.

‘You can of course sow individual seeds in pots and then once the plants have grown on you can plant them out in your meadow area, but this can lessen the visual impact of the wildflowers by making the meadow too uniform and also take you considerably longer.’

Instead, sow the seeds directly into the ground.

If you already have a lawn where you want your wildflower meadow to live, Platt says, you have two options.

You can either dig up the turf and start from scratch, or include Yellow Rattle sides among your wildflowers that will weaken the grass, allowing other wildflowers to actually establish themselves on the lawn.

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to get planting.

Prep the area

‘First, you need to remove any big weeds that you can see in the area you wish to plant,’ says Platt.

‘Then, break up any big clumps of soil with a rake or vigorously rake the lawn to expose patches of bare soil.’

Make sure to water the ground before you sow to prevent dislodging the freshly sown seeds, then mark out a grid using garden canes or string on your growing area.

‘This will allow you to have a full looking flower meadow,’ says Platt.

Start planting

Once you’ve prepared your meadow area, it’s time to add the seeds.

‘Sprinkle your wildflower seeds along the grid lines and then cover with sand,’ says Platt.

‘The sand weighs down the seed so it doesn’t blow away and also allows you to see whether the seedlings that begin to grow are your wildflowers, which will be on the grid lines, or weed seedlings, which will be in the spaces between the grid lines.’

Nurture your meadow

Finally, it’s time to encourage some growth.

‘If Mother Nature doesn’t help you out by raining, keep your wildflower patch watered using a sprinkler or watering can with a rose (similar toa filter) to keep seed movement to a minimum,’ says Platt.

‘Make sure to remove any weeds that pop up in the gaps of your grid as they will compete with the wildflowers.’

And there you have it, your very own wildflower meadow.

 


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