There is no better time to spread the gift of gardening than on Garden Day!
In this article, Alice Whitehead tells us how to make wildflower seeds bombs, allowing you to share the flower power with your plant pals and reward the hard-working pollinators across the country at the same time!
Flower seed bombs are a doddle to make and a great way to get messy with kids. If you use native wildflowers, you can bring biodiversity to a back garden and brighten up any bare patch.
What you'll need:
- Native flower seeds of your choosing
- Peat-free compost
- Powdered clay
- A bowl
Sift the bigger lumps out of your compost. Use your hands to combine 1 cup of seeds with 3 cups of peat-free compost, 1 cup of powdered clay and 1 cup of water in a bowl. I used a native wildflower mix, but you can also use seeds of one kind of flowers – even better if you’ve saved them yourself!
Roll the mixture around in your hands as if you’re making truffles – your final bombs should have a similar texture and hold together well. Add more water or clay if they are too sticky or too dry. Let them dry away from direct sunlight for 48 hours before storing.
Check out my Top Tips at the bottom of this article – or try one of these ideas to pep them up and share with friends.
Three different ways to make wildflower seed bombs
A beautiful way to add colour to your seeds bombs is by embedding dried petals or flower heads into your clay/compost mix. I rolled some in dried Calendula petals, but you could experiment – or customise each one with the petals that relate to the flower seed you’ve used. They look lovely popped into an organza bag with a homemade label. Put a ‘use by date’ and ‘sow by date’ on the label. Seed bombs and papers can last for years if stored in a cool, dry, dark place – but your seed mix may need to be planted at a certain time.
Cookie cutters can bring another dimension to your seed bombs. I would recommend a simple shape such as a heart, circle or square. I parcelled these sweet-hearts into a matchbox for posting.
The paper cover is made from edible flowers
too! Simply layout some darkly coloured flower heads onto white paper, face side down. Use the end of a rolling pin to squash them into the paper gently. When you lift them off, they will leave behind a delicate but beautiful imprint of the flower (it would make lovely wrapping paper too).
You can have your cake and grow it with these pretty seed cakes. To make them, simply gather together a bundle of scrap paper. You can use newspapers, egg boxes, tissue paper, etc. Using your hands or a shredder, tear into tiny pieces.
I used a coloured ‘tea’ to bring a bit of colour to my cakes. You can easily make natural dyes from vegetables, such as beetroot or dark flower petals. Simple boil in a small amount of water, and simmer for 10 minutes until the colour deepens.
Take a handful of the mixture at a time and add your wildflower seed. Add a drop of water or dye a little at a time until you can bring your mix together. You want it to be moist but not wet because you don’t want the seeds to start sprouting before they get in the ground!
Press firmly into a cake mould (being careful not to damage your seeds). Drain off any excess water and leave them to dry like this for half an hour. You should be able to pop your seed cakes out gently and allow them to dry fully out of direct sunlight. Once hard, they can be decorated with paints or popped into a bag to send to a friend.
Top tips for making seed bombs:
- Experiment with your own seed blends. Good choices are any flowers that would naturally be sown close together, such as cornflowers or poppies. You could even try edibles such as cut-and-come-again salads or radish that won't mind too much overcrowding.
- If you want to attract pollinators to your bomb site – choose native flowers in blue, purple, violet, yellow and white. Things like corn chamomile, corn marigold, bellflower, corncockle, cornflower or field scabious. Bees are naturally attracted to these colours the most.
- Rather than throw your bomb and hope for the best, you’ll get better germination if you identify a site that will suit the seeds you’ve used. Look at the soil where you are going to plant. Is it shady? Is it dry and compacted? Or potentially polluted? Even with the best intentions, your seed bombs may not survive. Equally, wildflowers like unfertile soil – so choose your location carefully.
- Weed and loosen the soil where you will throw your bomb to aid germination. Water regularly after sowing in spring to give them the best start.
- Slugs and snails love-Paper cakes – so these plantable papers are best sown into pots!
Check out our how-to video:
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Shop seeds and readymade seed bombs on Candide.