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Wildflowers – An easy bed.

Last year  — after 12 years of not growing any beds of annuals — I decided to create two island beds of wildflowers in a relatively small rectangle of wild-grassy area that’s framed by my borders in the back of our property.  One would be twice the length of the other and their shape would be oblong ovals.

Bill and I didn’t want to go through any major soil preparation work.  I wanted to experiment — and if it worked — great. And if it didn’t we could just mow it down with the lawn mower.

The Plan

The idea was to plant white clover all around the perimeter of each bed.  This had several purposes.  White clover is beautiful and bees love it.  It can be mowed down and will come right back.  It helps choke out weeds and keeps them from encroaching into the middle of the bed where I planned to sow poppies. Once established these bed should be able to pretty much take care of themselves with minimum attention from me.

In the middle of the smaller bed I sowed California poppies.  In the middle of the larger bed I sowed Red poppies.

The results were spectacular. For more pictures and details on preparation see my original post.

California Poppies are in this smaller bed and were the first to bloom.

 

The red poppies in the larger bed bloom as the California poppies diminish. I thought it was much more beautiful than the photo shows.

And Then What Happened?

The poppies reseeded themselves and I also gathered seed to save.

The clover came back thick and lush except for in a few spot where the seed had washed away in the original sowing.  The spots have been reseeded and when they germinate they should close in the openings this year.

This will be the second year for these two beds. The clover in this smaller bed is already lush except for this bare spot. I've sown more seed --- so the spot should close in this year.

In late winter when it was mild with nice rains, the self-sown poppies germinated.  There were seemingly hundreds of them coming up in the middle of both beds. Absolutely ideal.  The seedlings were very small.  In the middle of all that wonderful weather — we had a freeze.  The seedlings died.

There’s Always a Silver Lining

However, I had noticed that in addition to the small seedlings there were good sized poppy plants coming up IN the clover and along the outside edge of the clover.  These did wonderfully through the freeze and kept right on going.  They are now in bloom.

These are the poppies that grew strong and made it through the freeze. The seed fell and grew right in the clover.

 

This picture shows the open center of the longer bed. At the bottom right -- you can see the beginning of the smaller bed with the poppies that are blooming now.

Final Words – Great Potential for these Easy Care Beds in Spite of the Set Backs

Since the freeze I sowed the poppy seed that I had saved into the beds and sprinkled lightly with straw.  Since then we’ve had no rain — or at least nothing more than a drizzle or two.  No seed has germinated.

I’m hoping this spring drought will break and that when we get rain the seed will take off and still make an even more spectacular show than last year. In spite of the set backs of the freeze and the spring drought, I see great potential for these two beds of easy-care annuals.

Blooming California Poppies that came up in the clover. Note the buds for new blooms with their pink rims.

California Poppies that reseeded in the clover.

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Source for Wildflower Seed: Vermont Wildflower Farm

Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.

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Related Posts:

Backyard Landscaping Ideas – Wildflowers

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4 comments to Wildflowers – An easy bed.

  • Sandra

    Hi Theresa, I have California poppies coming up from seeds we sprinkled in February. They are about 4-6 inches tall now. I’m worried that they won’t get to the flowering stage and that’ll be the end of them. I was really hoping for that same re-seeding you were. Will they make it to flowering if they are only just this size right now?

  • Theresa

    I wish I had had more foresight earlier in the year. If I had sown my poppies in January I would have a ton of them, based on what happened with the ones that came up in the clover and made it through the frost with flying colors.

    I’m not sure if I am understanding you correctly — but it sounds as if your plants are still small? Looking back — I would think February would have been a perfect time to plant and that the seedlings should be up 6 or 7 inches and sturdy looking. If that’s the case — they should be blooming any day. If they are only up an inch or so — it will depend on how hot the temperatures are. But I think you’ll get some bloom no matter what the weather.

    I’ll be anxious to hear the “rest of the story”.
    Theresa

  • Sandra

    Well… I scattered this seed in Feb. Next year, I’ll try January too. In some places, the plants are large, and definitely look as though they’ll make it to bloom. In other places, however, they are still very tiny, and they don’t appear to be growing fast at all. I can’t imagine how they will put on enough growth to get to the bloom stage before heat sets in. I WILL keep you posted – perhaps they’ll surprise me.

  • Theresa

    Sandra, I took a good look at my poppy bed again today. (You’ll recall we had a little shower a few days ago.) The seed in the middle germinated and the plants are growing. Yes, still small —- but we never know what the weather will be. So don’t give up yet.
    I’ll be waiting for the rest of the story.
    Theresa

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