Rudbeckia in bloom. Photo credit Cody Williams.

Wildflower Biodiversity

Volunteer to Grow Wildflowers

The Norwich Conservation Commission is launching a biodiversity project at the Milt Frye Nature Area where we are seeking to improve the wildlife habitat by expanding the diversity of native wildflowers in the field. We seek volunteers who can commit modest time and effort to grow wildflowers at home, plant them in the field, and commit to helping maintain them over the first year(s) in the field.

This is a multi-year effort. Normally, it takes 3 years to establish native wildflowers from seed. The NCC will provide materials and guidance, but here is roughly what is involved:

Year 1

There will be 2 separate groups of flowers to grow. Set A and Set B.

  1. Set A – these are seed that do not need cold treatment to germinate. In late April/early May, sow the seeds in trays, and keep them protected from rodents in a partly sunny area until they germinate. Keep them watered over the summer, and plant them into the field in the September.
  2. Set B – these are seeds that need cold treatment to germinate. In mid-to-late fall sow native wildflower seeds in trays. Leave them outside, but protected from rodents, through the winter. When they germinate in the spring, keep them in a partly sunny location through the summer, watering them regularly. In the meantime, we will be smothering a patch in the field in the spring so it will be ready to accept the plants you are growing in the fall.

Sometime in September, depending on weather conditions, the plants will be transplanted into the field. You will water them, if need be, until the first frost on a weekly basis.

Year 2

If you would like, you can start the process again with a new set of seeds, either A or B. During the following spring and summer after the plants you put in your patch in the field emerge, you will continue to water on a weekly basis, as needed.

Year 3

Continue to monitor for periods of drought, and water as needed.