Wildflowers

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I love wildflowers.

Planting them is so easy, and they come up with a little sunshine and water. Of course, if you like the look of a perfectly manicured yard, this type of gardening might not be for you. But I urge everyone to pick up some wildflower seeds and try them. You can plant them in pots, or make a great big meadow in your yard. They add such beauty and color; it’s an alluring atmosphere for any area, and you know what’s best – it’s easy!

You don’t have to be an advanced gardener to have this effect. Right now is the best time to plant wildflowers. The cooler temperatures and the winter rains encourage germination of the seed. Plant a few packets of seed in your garden. Once they come up you will be so glad to see the bright splashes of color. Get your wildflower seeds from Rita at Wild Seed, she can reached at 602-276-3536 or the Desert Botanical Gardens. Their quality and variety provides outstanding results. Not all seeds are equal.

Make sure you plan an area where you can supply an adequate amount of water. Just in case we don’t get enough rain, you will need to supply watering. The seeds need to keep moist, and the best way to do this besides rain, is to use a gentle watering system. If you do it by hand, use a watering can with lots of holes in the spout so you don’t dislodge the seeds. A water wand works well also. You can pick these items up at your local nursery.

To distribute the seeds evenly when planting, always mix them with potting soil, compost or sand. The ratio should be one part seed to four parts filler. If you put the seeds in too thickly, they will compete for water, sun and possibly other nutrients in the soil, causing a weak, sparse plant.

You can also just throw some seed onto decomposed granite and just gently wash them into contact with the soil. If you plant directly into soil without granite, rake up the surface a bit. Only do this about one inch, so as not to stir up any weed seeds which like to hide out to sprout and grow.

Always sow one-half of the seed in one direction, and then in another, like a criss-cross pattern. After washing them down gently with water, you can help along the germination by pressing them into the soil with the backside of a rake. Remember not to go too deep.

You can even plant some seeds next to already existing plants and trees that have emitters. You won’t have to do much to make these grow, because the circumstances for proper growth have already been established. Water a little more frequently until they start to sprout up a couple of inches, and then resume your normal watering schedule.

Planting wildflowers in pots is easy too. It creates a variety of color in just the right places you want to place them, and if you buy light weight pots, you can move them around every so often for variety. It’s a beautiful touch to apartment balconies, front porches or anywhere you want to narrow down a nice splash of color.

Weed often! Weeds will compete with your wild flowers for sunshine, water and nutrients. If the wildflowers get too thick, thin them out. This will be sure to give them the right amount of room to grow. I thin them down to one plant every few inches.

Once the wild flowers are up and going, no matter where you’ve planted them, hit them with a good dose of fish emulsion or my Extreme Juice. You can find Extreme Juice on my website and specified locations throughout the valley.

Often you will find your wildflowers will start reseeding after being in bloom for approximately 2-4 weeks. You can let the seed naturally fall, or save the seed to replant, share with a neighbor or start a fresh group elsewhere in your yard. You potentially could have a whole neighborhood with splashes of color throughout, if you all enjoy this simple way of gardening.

Annuals have to be cut down to ground level once the plants have died back. Leave the roots because they decompose into the soil, which adds back in nutrients as well as aerates the soil. The new flowers will soon start sprouting all over again in the spring.

I hope you enjoy the wildflowers as much as I do.
Please send your questions to gardenguy@gardenguy.com
Dave Owens – Garden Guy