Cornfield annuals - flowers like poppies and cornflowers - were once considered arable weeds. Ploughing arable fields triggered their germination, and you still see poppies in particular, before harvest. That soil disturbance was why there were so many poppies in Flanders, incidentally. For the French the cornflower (pictured) has a similar resonance as the poppy does for us. We think both species were accidentally brought to Britain from the Continent by farmers, in the Iron Age.
These flowers are NOT found in wildflower meadows! They're not perennials, so won't come back year after year unless you allow them to set seed and then agitate the soil with a hoe or similar. Nor do they flower for long; we generally recommend sowing them in two lots, with a two week interval. They will flower pretty reliably 8 - 10 weeks after seeding.
Why and How Can I Sow Annual Wildflowers?
Cornfield annuals can give a cheerful splash of bright primary colours to wasteland or verge. They're not as helpful ecologically as perennial meadow species as they don't persist and only flower briefly. We sometimes add them to some of our meadow mixes as a "nurse" though; they can suppress weeds, as well as announcing that someone has seeded there! If you are going to use them like this, only add around 5-10% of the main mix you are using. This usually means you will be sowing at only something like 0.5g / square metre. It is really important you don't exceed this kind of density.
We also recommend them for school projects, sowing in containers, and for seed packets; they are quick to grow and pretty bombproof, enjoying a range of lower fertility soils and conditions. Despite this a couple of species in this mix, Corncockle and Cornflowers, are now rare in the wild.
About These Seeds
The wildflower seeds in the mix are sustainably harvested from plants in the UK, so they not only have UK provenance, they also have British origin. They can be sown in spring or in autumn, when they will flower the following summer.
Once they have set seed, leave the plants in the gound for a while then remove them and hoe over the bare soil. A new generation of seedlings will appear.
You can usually expect to receive your seed within five working days of placing an order.
Species making up over 10% of the mix are shown in bold.
Corncockle Agrostema githago
Corn Chamomile Anthemis arvensis
Cornflower Centaurea cyanus
Corn Marigold Chrysanthemum segetum
Scentless Chamomile Matricaria perforata
Field Forget-me-not Myosotis arvensis
Corn Poppy Papaver rhoeas
PLEASE NOTE: Corncockle is beautiful and in the wild rare, so we think it's important to include it in this mix, but it is toxic when eaten.
Supplier: All Things Rural