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To dig up old wild flowers or leave them to rot !!

sandbevsandbev Posts: 6
edited November 2020 in Wildlife gardening
This Summer I brought several boxes of  the usual wild flower seeds to attract butterflies, bees etc into my garden and I have to say once established, they did really well.  Next year I am having bees of my own, only one hive, so plan on doing the same again, sprinkling a variety of wild flower seeds.  My question is please, now that its winter, should I pull up what is left of the wildflowers or just leave them to see if any of them come back next year of their own accord ?  I've already removed quite a few of the seed heads and put them in a paper bag ready for next year but not sure what to do with the rest of the flower, remove them and dig the area over or leave them to rot. I have to say they look a mess and are making the rest of the garden look a mess !!
Many thanks for any advice Bev


  • We have wildflowers areas and we do collect the seed heads for sowing the next year.
    I agree that the areas can look untidy but we cut off all the remaining seed heads as short as possible then cut back or pull up the dead stalks (if they are annuals) and remove them from the area. Then the seed heads are scattered back onto the soil and this time of the year we usually give them a light leaf mulch (not much as wildflowers aren't too keen on too much fertiliser).
  •  @Sandbev, Yes we scatter the seed heads now and cover them lightly. Then in the spring we sow the other seeds we gathered in trays and plant them out where there are gaps or in new places.
  • SueAtooSueAtoo Posts: 339
    Difficult to dig over the area if you have a mixture of annuals and perennials. I know it looks messy but as you're growing for insects I'd leave everything as many insects will be overwintering there. I live opposite Knoll garden in Dorset and they cut then leave everything laying.
    East Dorset, new (to me) rather neglected garden.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,419
    I would cut down and leave in a discreet corner to rot down (and provide a habitat in the process). Anything perennial will come back up again. Hollow stems provide nesting sites for some solitary bees so leave some standing if there are any.
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