There are not many flowers whose seeds can be sown straight into a meadow sward, but here's one that can.
Sowing yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) straight into the lawn.
For three summers now, I have allowed the front lawn in my garden to develop as a meadow for a couple of months each summer (see the feature article The Flowery Hiccup
). Every year the 'meadow' has become more and more interesting. Last summer a common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii
) appeared under its own steam, and this summer cuckoo flowers (Cardamine pratensis
) turned up. I'm amazed that those plants appeared out of nowhere after just a few years of sparing the mower - but perhaps I shouldn't be since they are both common species in this area.
Less common in our local meadows is yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor
) - a very useful plant in flower-meadows because it is hemi-parasitic on the roots of grasses; meaning that it gains some of its sustenance from the soil and some directly from the roots of the grasses. In doing so it weakens the grasses which makes it valuable in a 'meadow' like mine where the grass is more vigorous than is good for the flowers. Yesterday I sowed 10 grams yellow rattle seed (purchased over the web) straight into the lawn and raked it in. Like many plants, the seed of yellow rattle requires winter vernalisation - if it isn't subjected to the low temperatures of winter, it will not germinate successfully. With any luck the winter will do its thing and next year I will see a few plants of yellow rattle. If in time it takes hold, it will weaken the grasses and make an even better environment for the meadow flowers that have been appearing.