Meadow Update! Seedballs!

I had one of my bright ideas back in February (always a dangerous time).  For a wildflower meadow.  The digging was quite hard-going, and I got about a square metre in, and decided I only wanted a very little meadow anyway.

Well, I planted my plugs.  It snowed.  It snowed again.  But guess what?  They are all fine.  Thriving, you might say.

So I started digging again, lifting more turf.  This went into my new raised beds.  And it was so easy to dig now, after all that snow and rain, that I just kept on going.  And now I have dug about 10 square metres, with 5-10 to go.  Remember I am very approximate.  It depends on where I decide to stop.

And in the midst of all this digging, I took the occasional break.  And went on Twitter.  And discovered…SEEDBALLS!

Seedballs are marble-sized balls of clay and wildflower seed, with a little bit of chilli thrown in, to annoy the mice.  You simply chuck them about a bit, about 20 seedballs (1 tin) per square metre, water if you like, no probs if you forget, and wait for them to germinate.

You can choose your seed mix too.  There is bee mix, beetle mix, butterfly mix, bat mix (!), cloud mix (!!) Well, you can imagine the fun.

So you know what happens next.

And given that I received a free packet of wildflower seed mix with my plug plants from February, I can feel a little not-very-scientific experiment coming on!

Yes, reader.  I am going to compare the success of plug plants vs seedballs vs seed mix.

Now, just to recap, my original mini-mini (nano) meadow contained 5 plugs each of:

Field scabious, lesser knapweed, musk mallow and white campion.

I have now chosen three different seedball mixes: Beetle Mix, Butterfly Mix and Sky Meadow Mix.  And just for good measure, because I was enjoying the digging so much, and because I didn’t get my confirmation email and convinced myself that I hadn’t in fact ordered any of these, I did it all again, doubling the quantity of tins again (eek!  That’s a lot of little tins.  Have since discovered there are bulk bags!  Good job my daughter always wants little tins for craft bits and pieces).

So now I also have 180 seedballs containing (in alphabetical order.  You see there is the semblance of order):

Common knapweed, cornflower, cow parsley, forget-me-not, foxglove, great burnet, meadow cranesbill, more musk mallow, purple loosestrife, red campion, self-heal, wild clary and yarrow.

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Thus managing to keep to my purplish white scheme!  And even my free, non-chosen seed-mix complies with this.  I have 25 grams of seed containing:

corn cockle (yay! love this!), more cornflower, more foxglove, ox-eye daisy, yet more musk mallow, more red campion, teasel, and more white campion.

I just checked how much seed per square metre you need, and it is 2g per square metre.  I either have a lot of surplus seed, or a lot more digging to do.

Do you remember the yellow rattle?  You are supposed to sow this first to suppress the grass.  Only you are supposed to do this in September.  So I have a lot of yellow rattle seed, which I may or may not sow in September.  I suspect the sowing area needs to be cleared.  I could clear even more of the grass in the allotment, sow yellow rattle, and then see what naturally self-seeds.  How about it, Stevie?

By my count, I am up to 1 square metre with plugs, 9 square metres with seedballs and anything up to 12.5 square metres with seedmix.

So pop back in a few weeks to see how all this is turning out.  You will of course have to wait a few more weeks after that to see pretty flowers.  Hopefully there will be pretty flowers.

Do feel free to chip in with helpful meadow-growing advice.  I reserve the right to merrily stuff my ears with seedballs and ignore what I don’t want to hear.

I thought I would just pop in this sunset pic because who doesn’t like a sunset?  And it is purplish, like my beautiful (imaginary) meadow!

If you need a little optimism in your life, then join me in my quest to share what is delightful in the garden.  If you click on the big fat ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of this post, you will receive a lovely email each time I publish a post.  I aim to brighten your day.

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51 Comments Add yours

  1. Tish Farrell says:

    Had not heard of this particular seed bomb format i.e. in clay. It sounds v. feasible, so shall be on tenterhooks or similar to see how they turn out. Am also intrigued by the chilli addition. I wonder if it would keep mice away from pea seeds, or maybe one could dip them (peas) in chilli oil. I usually germinate mice-tempting things in pots, but it’s rather a pain if you need to do masses. Good luck with your meadow. We have what is fondly known as the guerrilla garden over our back fence. It contains many of the species you name and is probably our favourite bit of the garden, if not technically ours 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I wonder how easy it is to make them – I might try for next year! I once soaked my sweet peas in seaweed to deter mice. It was successful, but they’ve also been fine when I haven’t! Do you launch seeds next door? I used to flick a few next door when they grew weeds!

      1. Tish Farrell says:

        I do both launching and planting of stuff that seeds around my garden.

      2. Ali says:

        Cheeky little underarm or sneaky over-the-shoulder? Actually I’m imagining a catapult.

      3. Tish Farrell says:

        Ha! A catapult. What a great idea. Actually once we’d got a few plants in, they soon started multiplying. And new ones arrived there by themselves. And now they all sneak back into our garden.

  2. That is interesting to know the seed balls mixed with chilli to deter mice. I have just sprinkled my containers with chilli to deter bigger furries – cats! One of my containers of garlic has been hosting a cat, now I am not sure whether it will be safe to use the garlic.
    Phacelia tanacetifolia (fiddleneck) would fit into your colour scheme and bees love it. It self seeds too.

    1. Ali says:

      I used to have a nightmare with cats in my old garden. I tried chilli, sharp sticks, lion poo, water pistols… none of which worked!
      Thank you for that recommendation! I love the name.

  3. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Whoever would want to buy bat mix? Bet that one stays on the shelves!

    1. Heyjude says:

      You have very BIG bats. Here we have little cute ones that come out at dusk and fly around our courtyard and the country lanes and eat flying things. I love my batties 😀

      1. janesmudgeegarden says:

        Hi Jude, your bats sound so much nicer. We have little bats too-micro bats- but I’ve only ever seen them once.

      2. Ali says:

        I remember the flying foxes in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. They were slightly terrifying at first!
        I did have a funny bat incident a couple of years ago (here in Kent). I heard a funny noise around the curtains in the middle of the night (ffflll fffllll) and got up to investigate. Something brushed past my ear and flew into the room, doing mad circles around the bed. It was a bat! I completely lost it and dived under the covers. Stevie had to ‘waft’ it out with a towel. At one point it was hanging upside down from my bedside lamp!

      3. janesmudgeegarden says:

        They’re not nice inside. We had micro bats inside a previous house- they flew round and round for ages before they found their way out, enabled because we took the curtains down, opened up the window as far as it would go and turned the outside lights on. Because of this batty conversation, I’ve discovered that some of them carry a deadly virus, although you’d be extremely unlucky to catch it.

  4. bcparkison says:

    Bats are good. they eat mosquitos.
    I can’t wait to see what come up.

    1. Island Time says:

      I love bats!! Yes, they are good!! They devour mozzies here too, and are rather on the endangered side of life, I do believe!

      1. Ali says:

        Anything that devours mozzies is a friend to me, as mozzies devour me!

    2. Ali says:

      Yes, I can’t think of anything bad to say about bats. Apart from the very rare bedroom visit!

  5. Heyjude says:

    Interesting mix there, I seem to have a lot of those plants already in my garden in the disguise of ‘wild flowers’ and many more down the lane! I did a big clear out of the cranesbill last year as it self-seeds everywhere! I also chucked a packet of meadow flowers into a 1m square raised bed last summer and it was a riot of colour (too many seeds for the size of the bed, but I didn’t have chance to thin the seedlings) with bees galore all summer. So good luck! And I can’t wait to see what comes up.

    1. Island Time says:

      Lucky you! I have chucked I don’t know how many wildflower seed packets about, and nothing! Zip! Nada! Old seed? Mice? I think I will have a go at making some of those seed balls. They sound awesome!

      1. Ali says:

        Yes, that is what I have heard from others: that you can sow seed but birds and mice often eat it. I think that lifting the turf or weakening it first by sowing yellow rattle the autumn before is supposed to help, because vigorous grass just smothers other seedlings. I can see that the seedballs are still there, which is good, and they have had a nice bit of rain to get them started. The tin said 2-4 weeks til germination, and I’m 10 days in!

      2. Heyjude says:

        I have the same problem with vegetable and salad seeds! Apart from radishes and kale nothing else appears!

      3. Island Time says:

        I use an overturned clear plastic ex-salad bowl, or recycled horrid plastic salad “boxes” as shelters for the veggie and flower seeds; seems to keep the varmints away until the seed has germinated. It seems the wild creatures aren’t as interested once the seed has sprouted. Happy seed-starting!

      4. Heyjude says:

        Thank you! Cut down plastic bottles also works, but not always… 😦

    2. Ali says:

      That’s encouraging! My mum and dad had a meadow area in their old garden, and it was successful. The mix ended up being whatever liked their soil conditions, so you didn’t get an even spread of what you sowed, and the mix changed each year depending on what did well.

      1. Heyjude says:

        https://cornwallincolours.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/in-my-garden-summers-end/

        The Californian poppies and the Phacelia did really well with some Marigolds and Nigella coming through. Far too crowded. I am hoping they have self-seeded. Oh, and Borage is excellent for the bees too.

      2. Ali says:

        That post makes me yearn for summer! Your photos are gorgeous. I am growing borage for the first time, and after seeing your photos am super-excited. Am not growing calendula or Californian poppies for the first time, but we can’t grow everything every year, can we? That would be greedy. 😉

  6. Val says:

    I haven’t seen musk mallow in years. Where I used to live there was a nature reserve that had loads of it – right in the middle of a town! And I love forget-me-nots. I’ll have to look out for those seed-balls. Other half is the gardener round here, not me, but I think he’d love them!

    1. Ali says:

      We get a lot of mallow along the lane verges, but I’m not exactly sure which mallow it is. It is one of my favourites.

  7. Seedballs! Where have you been in my adult life? I need those immediately–if the snow here in Minnesota EVER melts, that is. I can’t wait to get these and see what happens. Now, I can’t promise to love them and care for them as much as you do–but I do want to see their little heads sprout from the soil. What would you recommend for shade?

    1. Ali says:

      I know, just the name is fun, isn’t it? I think probably the only trick is clearing a bit of soil so they are not competing with grass. If you have any molehills or disturbed earth, then aim for these! The ‘shade mix’ from the Seedballs site lists: •bellflower (campanula), forget-me-not, meadow buttercup, meadowsweet, oxeye daisy, ragged robin and red campion. Common primrose and foxgloves are also good for shade.

    2. Ali says:

      I think once germinated, you probably don’t need to do anything but enjoy them. I just need to work out whether you mow at all (with perennial meadows you would scythe or mow once seed has been set), but that should be it.

  8. Island Time says:

    Oh Ali! I love the sound of your wild meadow, and the seed balls; they look almost as good as truffles!! I am going to chuck all my left over flower seeds from past years’ gardens into a bowlful of clay and compost, add some chile (which I once used successfully to fend off prowling London cats) and start chucking those around underneath my apple trees! Inspiration plus!! So excited, I can hardly wait! Am looking forward to see how your meadow materializes….p.s. bats are great!

    1. Ali says:

      Fantastic! I saw on Countryfile this week they had children making their own seedballs, and it did look like fun. They do look as good as truffles, don’t they? I am firmly on the side of bats!

  9. Rupali says:

    Wow so very interesting “seedballs”. Looking forward to see the results and yes sunset picture is lovely. Have a great weekend Alison.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, Rupali, and you!

  10. Beautiful sunset photo and sounds like a great selection of flowers! And I love the bat discussion 🙂 I’ve been desperately trying to attract bats for several years and maybe get to see a couple flying around the gardens, if I’m lucky. I suspect the majority of ours stay out in the woods, where the wetlands provide them with plenty of mosquitoes to eat. Good luck with the meadow! Sadly, we’re under yet another weather watch this weekend: 5-8 inches of snow expected tomorrow following by an ice storm on Sunday 😦

    1. Ali says:

      Nooooo! That is just not funny!

  11. Oh my goodness! A wildflower meadow sounds amazing. And I love those little seedball tins.

    1. Ali says:

      They are sweet, aren’t they? I confess to having a mild tin fetish!

  12. pommepal says:

    I’m so looking forward to seeing your wild flower patch as it progresses. What a lovely selection. And what a great idea the seed balls are. As for bats I do not think you would love ours, they are fruit bats they are the size of cats and very smelly AND they can give you a deadly disease if the poo happens to drop on you. They hang around in huge, noisy colonies and come out at night to raid any fruit trees in the area. They are a protected species and not endangered and I don’t think they eat mossies. I would love to have your cute little bats around eating mozzies though. Hope your weather is improving

    1. Ali says:

      They don’t sound quite so sweet! Thank you, I look forward to sharing photos. I think the weather is changing from today! 😃🌤☀️

      1. pommepal says:

        You will be happy to have it warm up and so will your garden

      2. Ali says:

        We’re both singing!

      3. pommepal says:

        🌞🎼🎵🎶🎶

  13. Looking forward to seeing all these lovely wildflowers. I had best results with boxes of Lidl wildflower mix usually in stock in February. This mix beat others by a long way. 🌼

    1. Ali says:

      Ooh. I will bear that in mind if I need more!

  14. John Kingdon says:

    I always love it when people get all surprised about “bat mix” flower seeds. Of course, bats don’t feed on the flowers but they will contain a mix of plants that give off scent in the evenings and overnight, attracting nocturnal insects which then provide the bats with food. I have bats roosting in my cavity (wall). Males. We hang out together (sometimes literally if they land on me). The females roost in the local church tower and the males whizz off there when they feel the need. Which means the racket is around the church and when they get home here, all they want to do is sleep. If I’ve left a window open, I may find one hanging from the bedroom light fitting in the morning.

    1. Ali says:

      Omg, I love that! The bats were circling me this morning when I went out to listen to the dawn chorus. I just love their silhouettes! They seem full of character.

  15. Oh amazing, I really want to create a wildflower meadow but wasn’t really sure how to go about it – this info is really useful!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Jessica. I will be doing an update soon, as a few more things are flowering there!

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