Cuckoo Flower Seed (Lady's Smock! ) PERENNIAL
Lady's Smock, Cuckoo Flower, Wildflower of the British Isles
With the appearance of this lovely flower timed with the return of the cuckoo, one finally knows that spring has finally arrived.
One of the most charming of our native wild flowers, found in damp meadows and by streams, it is, with its sprays (corymbs) of delicate flowers varying in colour from near white to lilac, lined with darker lilac, an excellent little plant to grow in moist places as well as drier spots on the rockery. 12-20 ins.
Cardamine pratensis is one of the most beautiful and one of the best loved of our wild flowers. It bears long narrow leaves and supremely elegant flowers in late spring/early summer. It flowers at the time the first cuckoo starts to call. They flower two or three to each stem, in white or with pink tomes.
Flowers Growing Info
The optimum time for sowing is late summer/early autumn with March to May being the next best window. Temperatures should be around 20Â°C (68Â°F)
Seeds can be sown three ways:
Under glass: Sown into cells or small pots to create plug plants. Sow on the surface and just press lightly into the soil. Keep the compost moist but not wet at all times.
Prick out each seedling once it has its first set of âtrueâ leaves, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays to grow on. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost has passed. Plant 30-60cm apart.
Once established the plug plants can then be introduced into the garden, into existing wildflower meadows, or into newly sown meadows after the sowing of the seed mix.
Seedbed: They can be sown into a small seedbed in a shady position in April. They can then be planted out in autumn or spring.
Direct Sowing: Sow onto prepared soil, either on its own or as part of a wildflower seed mix. Weed control is critical to the successful development of wild flower meadows. It is important to start with a site free from weeds.
Seed requires warmth and moisture to germinate and so should be sown later in spring on cold, clay soil than on light sandy or chalky soil. However, seed can be sown throughout the winter given good soil conditions. Sow onto the surface but do not rake in. If it is a very small area, then walk over the site to create good seed to soil contact.
Does well in most soils in sheltered situations. Do not plant in full sun.
The plant produces young plants at the base of its leaflets. When large enough, these can be easily separated from the main plant and grown on as individual plants.
The maintenance regime for a wildflower meadow can comprise a cut in June or July with a second cut in the autumn. The key issue is not to let the sward grow so tall as to swamp the Cuckoo Flower.