Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall is the Time to be Wild About Spring!



Wild about spring wildflowers, that is!   

Wildflower seeds are sown in the fall in order to germinate and grow over the winter and then put on a  show in the spring (at least that's how we do it in Zone 7b/8a).

I got my first batch of wildflower seeds from Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, Texas.  It contained an assortment of seeds...poppies, larkspur, bluebonnets, corn poppy, California poppy, bachelor buttons, and scarlet flax to name several.  After letting them grow and bloom, I decided that there were only a few of them that knocked my socks off, so I saved the seeds from those varieties only.

California poppies, larkspur and, of course, bluebonnets (state flower of Texas!!) stole the show and have been allowed encore performances in my garden ever since.

Then a friend of mine introduced me to her red Somnifera poppies (and I just had to have them in my garden), so I made another addition to the wildflower lineup.

The wildflowers faithfully reseed and bloom among my perennials every spring, starting in late March with the bluebonnets, then the poppies and larkspur in April, blooming all the way through May.

Here are some photos of the wildflower display in my garden each spring. 
  
These are the Somnifera poppies that blomed in my garden this past April.   
In this photo you can see several stages of blooms.  About halfway up toward the right side you can see the bent over bloom bud (they stand upright just before the bloom opens).  There are freshly opened blooms, ones in the process of going to seed, and finally the seed pod.

These are the dried seed pods.  The "sunburst" shaped cap lifts up to reveal a little row of "windows."  When you tip the seed pod on its side, hundreds of tiny seeds pour out like sand.










The poppies are in bloom at the same time as perennial 'Bath's Pink' Dianthus, Irises, and Ox-eye Daisies


Golden California poppies are bright and cheerful at the front of the border.



Larkspur's tall purple/blue, pink, and white spikes put on quite a show!

Spring blooming Coreopsis makes a nice companion.





 Larkspur paired with Red Bor Kale and Pansies 
creates a colorful spring garden at my church.

And what would a Texas garden be without our state flower,
the Bluebonnet!



A spring stroll down the sidewalk becomes a wildflower garden tour :-)   








 Ox-Eye Daisies, Larkspur, and Poppies
mingle for a beautiful spring display of wildflowers.









For success with wildflowers, you will need an area with full sun, preferably at least 6 hours.

Sow the seeds in October.

Scratch the soil and then scatter the seeds, making sure they have good soil contact.   The seeds are very small, so do not cover them with more than 1/4 inch of compost.

Here's a tip for getting better distribution of the seeds:  Mix the seeds with either sand or coffee grounds and then scatter.

Water, and watch them grow.   Be sure to remember where you sowed your seeds because the young wildflower foliage looks suspiciously like a weed.  One time my neighbor, thinking he was being helpful, pulled some wildflower "weeds" for me! 

After the wildflowers finish blooming, they will set seed.  Then you will need to let them go through that "ugly" brown period where the seeds are maturing and drying.  After the seed pods have dried, you can pull the whole plant out of the garden (it won't regrow from the root, only the seed).  Then scatter the seeds back in your garden, or collect them to share with friends.

This fall day, I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my spring garden of wildflowers! 

Toni :-)


7 comments:

  1. Your garden is fabulous! i love all those wonderful wildflowers. Thanks for the tips on growing them. I have a hillside i am trying to cover in wildflowers, with limited success so far. Your photos have provided needed inspiration.

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  2. Your wildflower garden is beautiful. I enjoyed your tips and ideas. The sand idea I have heard before, but it is a good one. It really is amazing how many wild flowers are natives and they certainly rival many of our pricey hybrids.

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  3. I loved reading this post, your flower beds are beautiful. I especially noted the larkspur, I definitly need to add them to my gardens.

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  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE (did I say it enough?) your front garden!!! If I could only convince my husband to rip up our lawn... I'll have to settle for taking over the backyard! Great blog!! I'll be back! :0)

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  5. TS: Thanks for the kind comment! Those husbands, they've just got to get on board, don't they!! Whenever mine sees me standing out in the yard staring at another patch of lawn, he just shakes his head and says, "Now what are you going to do?!" He's my biggest fan :-)

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  6. Just beautiful! Thanks for the link!

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  7. Oh I love those Wildflowers and your yard is fabulously gorgeous!!! Thanks for all the beautiful pictures!! ;D

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