The insertion of herbaceous species can be performed by either sowing or planting them. One usually sows clean seeds, but for some species freshly picked berries or seed heads with ripening seeds can be used as well. Both in sowing and in planting one should pay attention to the following points.
– Sow or plant out during the right period, for example right after seed or berry
collection, in accordance with the seed’s germination requirements. As a rule of thumb, one sows ripe seeds directly after collection. Many species’ seeds require a certain dormancy period in the open air, germinating only when the circumstances are favourable. This applies especially to real woodland plants. Each species has its own germination period. Wet or cold periods are particularly influential: in very wet years one sees much more germination and young plants than in dry years. Vernal, springflowering species, such as Corydalis cava and C. solida, lords and ladies, early and common dog violet and Goldilocks buttercup, germinate solely in (early) spring, whereas cow parsley, herb Robert and rough chervil germinate both in late summer/autumn and in spring.
– After they have established themselves, it can be left to the plants themselves to
proliferate and propagate.
– In small-scale situations—i. e. in gardens and parks—one often sows and plants out
single species or combinations of a few species in individual spots. Besides creating a more naturalistic image, the visual and aesthetic effects are much better. Combining all species into one single mixture rules out the element of surprise. In large-scale situations. sowing one mixture may be more practical. For the more refined species, however, this is less desirable.
– Among the species that establish themselves spontaneously, there will be some that one
may wish to keep. Species such as cow parsley, ground ivy or lesser celandine often do not warrant deliberate insertion.
– One should start from a preconceived plan, containing more or less detailed work
routines, or leaving room for spontaneous deviation.