Plant Wildflowers For Beauty And Weed Control

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Wildflowers can replace your weeds.  Weeding is one of the most hated outdoor chore. As we get older, the bending and kneeling required to eliminate those pesky weeds only gets worse.  Planting a wildflower garden can help eliminate or greatly reduce those weeds.

wildflowers in vase 2

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BENEFITS OF PLANTING WILDFLOWERS

  • Wildflowers are easy to plant.  
  • Wildflower gardens are low maintenance.
  • Wildflowers are not extremely picky about soil conditions.
  • Wildflowers require little use of chemicals.
  • Wildflowers attract bees, butterflies and birds to your garden.
  • Wildflowers are gorgeous and create a showy display, year after year.

Now, admittedly, wildflowers are not for everyone.  If you are a super neat person who loves perfect rows of plantings, the carefree look of a wildflower garden may drive you crazy.  But, if you love a casual, whimsical, riot of color, you will LOVE the look of a wildflower garden.

PLANTING THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN

First you will need to determine the best area for your wildflower garden.  Unless you are looking to plant in a shady area, you will need an area of your yard that receives at least six hours of sun a day.  We planted in both shade and sun areas.

wildflowers growing in shade
Shady area of yard.  We used a wildflower mix meant for areas that get less sun due to the fact that we have two huge maple trees shading this area.  Before we planted these wildflowers, this area, bordering our sidewalk on each side, was an ugly patch of dirt where nothing seemed to grow except, of course, the weeds.
cottage garden
Cottage Garden In Bloom
  • Buy good quality seed.  It is usually sold by the ounce or pound increments.  Two seed sources for quality seeds I recommend are Vermont Wildflower Farm and American Meadows.  All my seeds were purchased from Vermont Wildflower Farm and love them.  I have not bought seeds from American Meadows but have heard good reviews about them.  We planted a 50/50 mix of perennials and annuals in the Cottage Garden and Cutting Garden Varieties.

  • Remove all growth in the area you choose for your wildflower garden.  You will want to plant soon after this so the weeds do not reappear.
  • Loosen the soil.  If the dirt is not compacted, you may only have to use a stiff garden rake to do this.
  • Sprinkle the wildflower seeds evenly over the area.  I just scooped the seeds up and sprinkled by hand.  My first beds were a bit heavy-handed but got better as I realized my mistake.  It is recommended that you mix the seeds in white sand at a ratio of 4-5 parts sand to one part seed.  You can use a hand crank seed sower or simply sow by hand.  The sand allows you to better see where the seeds are in the soil for a more even coverage.
  • Press seeds into soil.  You can lay a piece of wood down and step on it firmly, moving the wood as you finish one area to the next.  Some areas, we simply stepped firmly over the seeds with our shoes on.  You don’t want the seeds to be deep, just below the surface of the dirt.
  • Water gently with a sprinkler.  You will need to keep the area watered until the seeds start to sprout.

preparing soil for wildflower garden
Preparing the soil for wildflower garden in front yard.  Area heavily shaded by large trees.
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Some of the colorful flowers now coming into bloom along our front walkway.  These are shade-loving wildflowers.
planting wildflowers
This area in the back yard gets full sun.  It was originally a vegetable garden when we moved in but was overgrown.  It was just begging for a profusion of colorful wildflowers.  We had tried plantings of regular annual and perennial flowers in this area but were forever weeding them. Some perennials were left along the back fence and allowed about a two foot space between them and the wildflowers to help the perennials to still be seen.  We also added the walkway down the middle.  The area behind the fence is also wildflowers; the first we planted.  As you can see, the soil in this area is really bad and full of rocks.
wildflowers back yard
Backyard wildflower garden almost in full bloom.
growing wildflowers
This is the side wildflower garden, under our kitchen window.   The picture was taken about three weeks after planting.  Previously an overgrown flower bed that was impossible to keep weed-free.  Now, it is loaded with wildflower heaven, with some flowers almost window height.  It is regularly visited by the sweetest yellow finches, hummingbirds and butterflies.  Peony bushes were left since their flowers will be gone by the time the wildflowers grow tall enough to cover them.
wildflowers side yard
Side wildflower garden in full bloom.

Wildflower Facts and Tips

  • Wildflowers can be planted in sun or shade and in almost any soil, depending on variety.
  • The flowers come in almost any shade you can imagine, even a beautiful blue, which is a hard flower color to find.  Blue wildflowers are so pretty.
blue wildflowers
  • Plant the seeds in Spring or Fall.  Spring planting is done after all danger of hard frost is over.  Fall planting is done after the first frost, while soil is at least 45 degrees.
  • Wildflower seeds can be purchased in varieties specifically adapted to your region for better growth success.
  • For a vast explosion of flowers the first year, plant a combination of perennials and annuals.  That way, the annuals will provide a riot of color the first year and the perennials will come up starting with the second year, along with seeds that are dropped from the annuals.
  • Mow the plants down in the fall after the flowers have died.  That way the seeds from the plants will drop and re-seed to continue producing.  Remove the dead cuttings the following Spring to allow room for the new flowers to spring up.
  •  One ounce of seed covers approximately 100 square feet of garden area.  It may seem sparse to you when you are spreading the seed, but the plants will bush out surprisingly well as they grow.

A wildflower garden can be an excellent addition to your yard.  We are so happy we chose to plant the gardens.  Now there are three large areas that will not require much weeding or maintenance and the beauty is outstanding.  Everyone that sees them are awestruck.  We are now eyeing an approximate two acre spot for a possible wildflower meadow.  Good luck if you decide to add wildflowers to your yard.  Please share pics!

wildflower collage
Wildflowers are an attractive addition to your farmhouse or cottage decor.

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