Get your wildflower on! As an initiative for Earth Day, we’ve sent a package of native wildflower seeds to our customers. This blog post is part of a series tied to our earth day campaign. You are currently on part two of this series.
View part one or part three.
It might feel counter intuitive to plant in the Fall since we often think of Spring as the prime time for getting plants in the ground. Think about how things work in nature: flowers bloom in the summer and as the flowers dry up, they release seeds that fall to the ground to grow next season.
By planting native wildflower seeds in the fall, we mimic Mother Nature’s natural life cycle and that’s why we held off sending you native species seed packs until now.
Native plants and flowers evolved in Canada and adapted so they are perfectly suited to our seasonal changes. That means they are used to (and thrive in) our natural weather patterns from our wet springs and hot, dry summers to cold winter months. It also means that for these seeds to germinate well, they’ve evolved to require “cold-moist stratification”.
What’s Cold-Moist Stratification?
It’s the process of subjecting seeds to cold and moist conditions for a set period and is required by many trees, shrubs and perennials to spur on the germination process. Cold-moist stratification helps seeds overcome seed dormancy by using frost then moist/wet weather to help soften the hard seed coat which triggers the seed to expand and break through the softened seed coat as weather warms in the Spring as it starts to search for sun and nutrients.
Preparation & Planting
Since you prepared the space for your native wildflower garden earlier this year, the planting process is straightforward.
- Ensure the site is clear. Remove any remaining invasive plants or weeds that might have developed. As we mentioned last time, baking the area (for 6-8 weeks) where you plan to plant helps kill off pathogens, weeds and pests.
- Gently rake the surface layer to loosen the soil.
- Scatter the seeds across the surface.
- Cover the seeds with up to 3-6 mm of and lightly tamp down
- Just before the first snowfall, cover the area with a thin layer of leaves. This will help protect the seeds and trap moisture.
That’s it. Your native seed garden is ready for next year when the variety of native plants selected for your ecoregion will start to bloom, such as the Black-eyed Susans, White Yarrow, Purple Prairie Clover, Smooth Aster and Bergamot which are native to Southern Ontario. And, you’re now one step closer to creating habitat for many creatures.
We’ll talk about what to do come springtime in the final edition of our newsletter, so you know how to protect the plants once they start germinating, and while the root system is still developing.
Greening Our World
You’re on part two of this series.
View part one or part three.
Your new garden is a great step towards helping to make our environment more sustainable. Individuals and corporations all have an important role to play in helping our environment thrive.
At TPH, environmental sustainability is a core value and an important part of our corporate culture. Not only have we adapted our business processes to become more sustainable (and we were named 2019’s North America’s #1 Forest-Friendly Printer* and one of Canada’s Greenest Employers), we’re also active partners in the WWF Living Planet @Work program.
WWF Living Planet @ Work helps companies like TPH drive sustainable practices at work. Through the program, we are building a network of Green Champions who care about conservation and initiate everyday changes, like turning off monitors at the end of the day, which can have a big environmental benefit. And, our staff gives back by participating in events like Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and WWF-Canada’s CN Tower Climb for Nature.
Next time, we’ll tell you a little more about the important role pollinators (who will love your new garden) play in our ecosystem but until then, you can find more information on native plant gardens from our partners at WWF-Canada.
Together, we can make a difference.
*As ranked by Canopy’s 2019 Blueline report