What is this?
During March and April we called on Londoners to come together and help make London a successful National Park City by sowing 9 million #WildflowersForLondoners - one flower for every Londoner. Working in partnership with Seedball we are sending out easy to use wildflower seed balls for sowing in spring 2018, and is building a SeedBank for Schools for spring 2019.
If you have backed the campaign, then thank you! As one of our first National Park City Makers, you are demonstrating how small actions, taken by each Londoner, can transform our urban landscape. Every Londoner can be part of re-greening and re-wilding London.
At the time the crowd-funder campaign ended on 9th April 541 supporters had backed the campaign meaning we had reached a grand total of
2, 910, 906
wildflowers being sown across London. They are rolling out (seed balls being round and all) to over 37% of London's wards across every single one of London's 33 boroughs. This is a fantastic effort and we are extremely grateful for all that you have helped us achieve so far!
Seed balls will be sent out shortly after the campaign ends on 9th April. You will receive them in the week starting 16th April.
Please share your stories and photos of your seed-balling activities, and the flowers you grow, on social media, via #WildflowersForLondoners.
Perhaps start with a photo of the spot you are sowing into, then you will be able to share before & after photos later in the summer.
If you need more copies of our leaflet which was included in with the seed balls you can download it here.
Top tips for planting and growing your wildflowers
- Seed balls will happily grow in pots, boxes, and empty borders. Choose a sunny spot with bare soil, where they won’t be disturbed, and where you can allow them to return next year. You do not need special compost - seed balls and wildflowers do well in normal soil.
- Plant in a place where as many people as possible will see them. In front of your home, along a path or somewhere you like to sit. Let your imagination run wild.
- To grow in a grassed / lawn area, remove some of the turf and sow in the space created to allow the flowers to establish.
- Could you lift a paving slab or some paving stones and plant there? Our front gardens have been disappearing under a flood of concrete, and you can help reverse that trend. In fact, if every Londoner greened 1 metre squared of space then London would be more than 50% green!
- Grow in a window box on a windowsill or balcony. Sow into a box beside your front door.
- See the Sowing Place Ideas at the bottom of this page for more ideas.
Getting the most from your seed balls and wildflowers
Seedball provide a lot of guidance on having the greatest success with their seed balls. Check out their:
- General introduction leaflet - A copy of their "how to grow" leaflet which was included in your packet
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) covering when, where and how to sow and how to take care of your new wildflowers
- Leaf and Flower ID Guide helping you identify those tiny shoots and leaves that have started to appear from your seed balls
Please Respect London’s Existing Natural Communities
#WildflowersForLondoners seed balls are to be used to bring colour, beauty and wildlife to all our streets, balconies, gardens, schools, workplaces and shared spaces that make up London.
They are not to be used in or near where wild plants and flowers are already established. They should not be used within or near a nature reserve, a Royal Park, open countryside, or any protected areas. Derelict-looking "brownfield" sites can host important insects and wildlife which have found sanctuary from development elsewhere. These communities may be unique, and we should leave them alone & celebrate them. If in any doubt, then please find another location.
Our SeedBank For Schools
For every seed ball purchased during this campaign Seedball has donated one seed ball to our SeedBank for Schools with the aim to distribute wildflower seeds to every London school in 2019 as part of our celebrations for the launch of London as a National Park City. We will continue to grow the SeedBank for Schools over 2018. If you are connected with the gardening industry, a seed supplier, or simply want to help children reconnect with wildflowers then we would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. I’ve never sown flowers before, is it difficult?
Seed balls are one of the easiest ways to start sowing wild flowers. Simply scatter them in the area you want them to grow. It really couldn’t be simpler. Try to make sure they are around 10-20 cm apart so they have room to grow. Water them, then just let Mother Nature do her work and in about 12 weeks the first flowers will be visible. Leave them where they are over winter, and in 2019 you will have even more!
2. When can I scatter?
This spring as soon as you receive them. Seeds of annuals sown this spring will flower this summer, while perennial plants will sprout and grow but may not flower until the following year. They’ll still look great!
3. How many seeds are there in each ball and will they all flower?Each seed ball contains 30 seeds, but not all of them will flower. By sowing so many seeds close together you can be certain that some will definitely be successful. After 2 - 7 weeks (depending on rainfall and location) you should be able to see up to 10 sprouts emerging from the surface of each ball. You should see your first flowers from late June. Most of the plants included should hopefully produce lots of blooms.
4. What is an annual? What is a perennial?
Annuals grow faster and flower earlier but die at the end of the year. They often self-seed and their offspring return to bring joy the next year. Perennials grow more slowly initially, but the plants survive through the winter and keep coming back every year. In our seed balls cornflowers are an example of annuals, and red campions examples of perennials.
5. What flowers are included?
What flowers you will get depends on the seed ball mix you chose. They will be labelled on the packet when they arrive:
Butterfly Mix - Great for a sunny spot, with more flowers sooner, but coming again next year. Contains Chamomile, Cornflower, Corn marigold, Forget-me-not, Musk mallow, Night-flowering catchfly, Purple loosestrife, Red campion and Yarrow
Urban Meadow Mix - Especially designed for challenging places with fewer flowers this year to allow for even more flowers next year. Contains Common toadflax, Cornflower, Cowslip, Meadow cranesbill, Musk mallow, Oxeye daisy and Red campion.
To read more about these flowers and how they can help bees and other wildlife in London, Plantlife provide a whole wealth of information. And check out our "flower cards" below!
6. What is a pollinator?
Bees (bumblebees, honey bees and solitary bees) are the principal pollinators of flowering plants and are crucial for food production. In the UK, bee pollination services contribute an estimated £1.8 billion per year to the UK economy. Yet their disappearance is a very real threat. A major factor causing the bee's decline is the loss of countryside wildflowers which they rely on for food. Hoverflies, some moths, and butterflies also pollinate flowers, vegetables and fruit. Sadly, three-quarters of British butterflies are in decline. The best thing you can do to help all pollinators is to plant native flowers such as those included in our seed balls.
7. We are sowing as a group. Do you have any ideas how we could use the seed balls?
- Drop seed balls to spell out name of your group or school
- Drop seed balls to make a shape such as a bee, butterfly, bat, a heart, a star or even a unicorn!
- Use crazy containers. Any container will do ... an old bag, old shoes, cup missing its handle, a bucket, a juice carton!
- Plant in and around a place you like to sit
- No need for a garden: use under a tree, on the top of a wall, the top of a bike or bin shed (green roof)
- Use a bit of guttering, take 1 litre plastic bottles lay side ways cut the top and make a hanging garden (best for the annuals)
- Pick a specific flower from the collection and do a mini project on its history, where did it use to grow, where does it grow most often now, and what wildlife depend on it. Many wildflowers used to grow in corn fields, but since farming practices have changed they are now most found on roadside verges!
Sowing Place Ideas
Our Wildflower Cards
Spring is a bloomin’ marvellous time to make London bloom
The snow and ice has gone. Yes, spring is definitely here and even if London sees a bit more snow again the season cycle is turning.
Daffodils are sunning themselves, trees are budding up and unfurling leaves and the bees are searching for a feed.
This time of year bees are looking for a post winter meal from early flowering plants like crocus.
Come the summer, bees need a more diverse diet – the kind that only comes with a little help from their friends – that’s where you and our Wildflowers for London seed balls come in.
Our easy-to-use seedballs are packed with 14 different types of wildflower – from the fragrant Night-flowering catchfly to the colourful Musk mallow.
With the lighter days and warmer weather the seeds will grow rapidly and be ready to bloom this summer giving bees and other important pollinating insects a much-needed pit stop. And they brighten up underused patches of land.
You don’t even need a garden. Window ledges, balconies and pots on patios are perfect growing spots. Our seed balls will brighten things up and you’ll get to spot bees, butterflies and more.
As well as doing right by the bees and brightening up your patch, there couldn’t be an easier way to start showing what London being a National Park City is all about – people across the capital acting to brighten up their area, make it more nature-friendly, not just this year but next year too.
Thank you for helping us sow the seeds that will turn into 9 million flowers - one for every Londoner!
For every seed ball that you bought, one free went into a special cache to be given to schools across the capital: Our SeedBank for Schools.
London’s already a great place for nature and has great green open spaces. But it can be so much better and everyone can help.
This spring let’s all make London bloomin’ marvellous.