During July the Oxeye Daisies whither, they loose their petals and eventually all that is left is a brown stalk with a small dark brown seed head containing perhaps 100 to 200 seeds. I spent some time collecting the seed heads in order to sow on patches of ground that had few oxeye daisies and also for the field where I am cultivating a wildflower meadow. Many smaller flowers persisted in this natural meadow together with occasional thistle, knap weed and ragwort and these provided abundant food for foraging insect pollinators.
While most of the seed seems to have germinated, not all of it has flowered. The areas that were sown late (in early April) have far fewer flowers and one area has no flowers. The wildflowers – especially daisies, together with thistles have grown more vigirously on the the mounds I created with overturned grass sods. I will pull up some of thistles at the end of the growing season as these will eventaully dominate the mounds.
The natural meadow, cultivated wildflower strip and field supported a healthy population of butterflies. Over a few weeks I identified 15 different species some of them – like the gate keeper, meadow brown, small white and common blue, in considerable numbers. On a warm sunny day, at any one time I could see perhaps a dozen butterflies close by.
Only recently have I realised that as my wildflowers die they leave behind a genetic legacy in their seeds. I started collecting seed heads today and as I did it I imagined how I would use the seed to expand the wildflower meadow I have started. In this way I am actively participating in the ecosystem as an agent for propogation and it made me feel good about it. I also had the idea of collecting seeds for other members of our community. I have a lot of orchid seed that I'm sure some of my neighbours would like. In this way new ways of interactimng with my environment and my community have emerged.