published Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Five Tips: SowIng wildfLower seeds

Now is the time to start thinking about planting wildflower seeds, said Chattanooga resident Katherine Rowe, a landscaping expert.

Rowe, who founded 505, a landscape design company, has developed a product called Seed Pops.

"It's little balls of Georgia red clay, compost and native Southeastern wildflower seeds," Rowe said. "They can be tossed into the landscape and will grow without water [or] digging anywhere plants can normally grow."

Seed Pops, which are available at Blue Skies on Frazier Avenue, are ideal for gardens, yards and vacant lots, she said.

The products contain seeds for more than a dozen varieties of wildflowers, including butterfly weed, purple coneflower, lemon mint, Mexican hat, black-eyed Susan and scarlet sage.

"The method has a long history from Native American planting to more recent urban agriculture techniques," Rowe said. "We use only native seeds, and the whole thing is biodegradable and compostable."

"We're going to work with the city Parks Department to plant a couple of trial areas this spring," she said.

Rowe offers the following tips for using Seed Pops.

FIVE TIPS

1. At the first sign of spring, toss the Seed Pops into your yard or garden.

2. There's no need to dig or water. The pops may break up when tossed, and when it rains the organic materials surrounding the seeds will soften, creating a nourishing spot for the seeds to sprout.

3. Recommended use is one pop per square foot. The native wildflower seed mix contains annuals for color and perennials for lasting enrichment.

4. Toss them anywhere wildflowers should grow. They're great for gardens, yards and vacant lots, too. Plant in spring, summer or fall.

5. Recycle or compost your pops package after the seeds are sown.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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