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green wildfire seeds

Green wildfire seeds

Here at American Meadows, you’ll find the most complete wildflower information available anywhere.

“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, We pledge that we do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds or plants.

Wildflower gardening is easy and we help you find the right perennial, annual or biennial wildflowers for your needs.

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For over 30 years we’ve helped gardeners all across the country create amazing wildflower gardens and meadows. Check out our Product Reviews on all our seed products to see what our customers are saying. We have an extensive Wildflower Video Collection so you can learn all about our mixtures and species. We sell only 100% pure, fresh wildflower seeds with no fillers or grasses and our exclusive mixtures are known nationally for their quality. Each year, we are proud to help tens of thousands of customers create wildflower gardens – let us help you.

We only sell 100% Pure Wildflower Seeds of the highest quality and germination. All the seed we offer at American Meadows is Non-GMO, Neonicotinoid-Free and Guaranteed to grow!

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It’s all in our Quick Guide to Wildflowers: Complete planting instructions, how much seed you need, and wildflower searches by color, height, moisture and light requirements.

“We transformed our entire meadow!”

Annually a huge amount of wildflower seed of 100s of native species is being sown across Britain and Ireland by a wide range of private individuals and both commercial and public bodies. Even our remotest mountain tops are not immune, with seed mixtures having been used to re-vegetate bare ground on ski-slopes and around radar domes at high altitudes (Corner & Robinson, 2001). The main increase, however, has been the sowing of wildflowers for landscaping purposes as part of road, rail, housing, industrial and commercial developments and to revegetate ex-mining/extractive industrial sites. Since the 1980s seed sowing has been increasingly used for conservation to recreate wildflower-rich habitat on agricultural land in order to reverse long-term declines in both habitat and associated wildlife such as pollinators and farmland birds (Vickery et al., 2006; Nowakowski & Pywell, 2016). Similarly, in urban areas native wildflower seed mixtures are being used to create wildlife-rich habitats in private gardens and in public green spaces. In some cities even ‘seed bombs’ are being used by the general public to create wildflower-rich communities on derelict land to improve people’s interaction and enjoyment of nature in urban environments (http://www.guerrillagardening.org/).

Wildflower seed sowing is becoming increasingly popular as a way of increasing floral diversity and food and habitat for other wildlife. Wildflower seed ‘packets’ are available to buy in just about every supermarket and garden centre and articles on creating wildflower meadows feature prominently in gardening and wildlife magazines. In parallel there has been increasing use of native wildflower seed for large-scale habitat creation and restoration schemes. However, the widespread use of generic seed mixtures has led several conservation organisations (e.g. Plantlife, Wildlife Trusts etc.) to express concerns over blanket sowing and to promote more eco-friendly alternatives such as natural regeneration and green hay (Dines, 2016; Plantlife, 2016). Although the issue has been raised a number of times in BSBI’s in-house periodicals (Walker, 2016; Millar, 2017; MacIntyre, 2017; Trudgill, 2017) the Society has not yet offered any of its own advice or guidance on what has become a major factor affecting many species’ distributions. Here we set out some of the pros and cons and the reasons why seed sowing matters from a botanical perspective.

Seed supply

The vast majority of wildflower seed comes from commercial seed suppliers who import it from abroad, mainly Europe, and then supply farmers as well as horticultural industry, garden centres and supermarkets. Whilst the majority of seed is sold to farmers for agricultural use (i.e. forage varieties of grasses and legumes) there is increasing demand for native wildflower seed and this is being by met by a small number of commercial companies, some of whom specialise in supplying seed of native provenance. These suppliers regularly harvest small amounts of seed mechanically or by hand from wild British populations and then cultivate plants in large quantities. These are then sold as native provenance ‘plug-plants’ or seed. An alternative to sowing commercial seed is to recreate habitat using seed harvested from semi-natural habitats either as brush-harvestings or green hay (Natural England, 2010).

There are around 150 native wildflowers that are regularly sown in mixtures for a variety of purposes. These are mainly common grasses and wildflowers of meadows, pastures and downland (neutral and calcareous grasslands) on soils with intermediate and high soil pH such as Knapweed Centuarea nigra, Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare, Bird’s-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus, Cowslip Primula veris, Red clover Trifolium pratense and Golden-oat grass Trisetum flavescens. There are also quite a number of wildflowers of hedgerow and broad-leaved woodland and wetland habitats (fen, marsh, swamp) that are also frequently sown but only a few associated with river and open water, urban and improved grassland. There are also a number of archaeophytes that were formerly common as weeds of arable land that are now very rare in that habitat due to modern farming methods, but are now frequently sown in ‘cornfield’ wildflower mixtures, and frequently now turn up as ‘casuals’ in disturbed habitats (e.g. Corncockle Agrostemma githago, Cornflower Centaurea cyanus, Corn marigold Chrysanthemum segetum).

Types of seed sowing

If you ask a room full of botanists for their views on wildflower seed sowing you are likely to get a range of responses. At one extreme there will be the ‘traditional view’ that sowing should be discouraged because it ‘muddies the waters’ of native distributions, apart from introductions carried out for conservation purposes. The BSBI has a policy on this published in 1988 which states that conservation introductions should only occur after permission has been sought and within known historic ranges (Donald, 1988). However, a minority of botanists might argue the opposite: that sowing seeds is essential to help restore floral diversity even outside of historic ranges if we are serious about helping wildflowers to adapt to major threats such as climate change (Trudgill, 2017). Whatever your view, seed sowing is likely continue unabated and so what are the pros and cons from a biogeographic, ecological, conservation and societal perspective?