Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First Wildflowers of the Season

Ever since we bought our house in late 2009, I’ve known I wanted to put in a wildflower garden. We have just under an acre, so a wildflower meadow would mean less mowing and lots of prettiness.

I would love if my yard would look something like this, from the American Meadows catalog:

American Meadows garden

So far, the process has not been that easy. :)  One thing I’m still trying to learn from gardening is patience. Growing things does not give you the instant gratification that painting something does!

When we bought the house in fall of 2009, we began to completely tear it apart, and therefore landscaping was the last thing on my mind.  I thought I’d just plant the wildflower seeds in the spring.

Then the spring of 2010 came, and I read up on what it takes to actually prepare the ground for wildflowers.  I realized it was more work than I expected and found it was too late in the year to plant the seed. So I patiently waited for the fall to plant my mix of wildflowers. I figured a mix would be the best way to find out what flowers would be willing to grow in our clay soil.

When spring of 2011 rolled around, I was excited to see my wildflowers starting to come up! There were all kinds of little flowers, and tons of green leaves! But again, establishing a wildflower meadow takes time! Most perennials will grow leaves the first year, but won’t bloom, and many annuals don’t bloom until later in the summer. So I waited.

That is when disaster happened.  In a super-good-hearted attempt to surprise Brandon and me while we were out of town, my mom and aunt hired some yard guys to come mow our lawn and clean up a bit.  Only they mowed down my wildflower meadow…in June…just when stuff was starting to happen.

I was devastated! And I couldn’t really be mad because everyone was just trying to be nice to us.  The problem really was that since the wildflowers didn’t really get a chance to establish themselves, many of them might not come back, and more importantly, it gave weeds a chance to creep in.  And of course, it’s hard to tell leafy wildflower sprouts apart from weeds.

Luckily, American Meadows does put together a “Summer Splash” mix that can be planted later in the season, so I still got some pretty flowers last year, but not the full, gorgeous meadow I was hoping for.

I didn’t want to completely start over with the meadow, in case there were any perennials, etc, left that could still struggle through. I removed patches of growth that I knew were weeds and planted new seeds. Now I’m just waiting to see what comes through, and what weeds will need to be removed and new seeds sown. I know it will take another year or 2, but I’ll get it!

Here are some flowers from along part of our fence line that didn’t get completely mowed down last year. They’re gorgeous and healthy and big! I can’t wait till my entire fence line/yard looks like this!

Dame's Rocket

Looking at the American Meadows site, I found out they’re a perennial called Dame’s Rocket. I love them!

I’m not going to post pictures of the rest of the “future wildflower meadow” because it looks horrible. If and when it is gorgeous, I’ll post before shots so you can see what I am going through :) but for now I’ll just post pictures of prettiness. I’ll keep posting about what else pops up!

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