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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Source for Wildflower Seed: Vermont Wildflower Farm
Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.
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