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Wildflower Initiative: The Art of the Scatter


Why Scatter Wildflowers Seeds?

There are over 20,000 species of wildflowers in North America belonging to 300 different families adding colour and beauty to our landscapes. But their importance goes well beyond eye candy. Aside from providing quality habitat for pollinators, many native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs are important components when it comes to our physical well being. Hundreds are medicinal herbs and only 10% have been documented.

Scientists have discovered that plants which pollinate via wind or water appear to be spreading. But those which rely on insects to ensure their survival are in decline because pollinators, like the honeybee, butterflies, bats and other beneficial insects are disappearing at an alarming rate. Urbanization and harmful GE toxins are the front runners in this ecological disaster. But we can help restore their natural habitat by scattering native wildflower seeds in backyards, public thoroughfares, parks and roadsides.

Many wildflowers adapt to different regions easily. Use the climatic zone maps as a guide because growing conditions vary. Click on specific colour regions for further wildflowers information. Most native seeds can be found at your local nursery.

Preparing the Site

When scattering wildseed, whether in the field or in your home garden, amass seeds so they grow into a group of many smaller flowers. They provide our little busy friends with a 'landing platform' to stand upon while they drink nectar or collect pollen. You can scatter wildseed in the spring or the fall.

1. Choose a site preferably with full sun. Create 'border areas' between lawns and woods for a natural look.

2. Clear the ground of existing growth. Turn the soil with a shovel. For large areas use a roto tiller just deep enough to remove old growth. Deep tilling encourages weed seed to travel to the surface soil.

3. Spread the wildseed over the bare soil. If you are spreading over a large area, split the seed in two parts and mix each with white builders sand. Using the first half, walk the prepared area hand-broadcasting the seed evenly over the prepared site. Using the second portion walk back over the same area in the reserve direction.

4. Don't cover the seed, just compress the whole area. For small areas just walk over it. For larger areas a lawn roller is very effective. Just make sure you compress the entire area.

5. That's all there is to it. Don’t rake. Don’t water. Don’t worry about the birds. And don’t use peat moss. It's not needed. If the soil is well compressed, your work is done.

It's important to remember, unlike their cousins, the wasp and yellow jacket which die out each winter, honeybees slow down and wait for spring to continue to collect nectar and pollen. So ti help honeybees collect well into fall allow a few leafy vegetables in your home garden to 'bolt' or go to seed after harvest. Seeding plants are a honeybee's best chance to stock up on food before the colder months. Honeybees also need sources of shallow water to rehydrate.