Thursday, June 2, 2011

Digging: Wildflowers

Thanks for being patient with this burgeoning blog! I've spent too many weekends focused on weeding and preparing the land for my dream garden. It was a little disheartening to see the slow, barely visible process of preparation, but, like the search for "solid ground" in the life we lead, the digging is hard work that must be done.
 After painstakingly digging out the myriad of weeds in what used to be the previous owner's dog pen, P restructured the pen to be the perfect size for two raised garden beds and a wildflower patch. All of the T-bars in the area we will be xeriscaping (gardening with plants that need little to no water) had to be removed and the wire fencing was re-attached to the remaining T-bars to fit the garden area. We left around three feet between each bed for a path and Patrick added flagstone stepping stones for the path between the garden beds and the wildflower patch.
 Before I had the patch weeded, I picked up some gorgeous single-flower hollyhocks from a lady who was thinning her hollyhocks for the spring. I came home with three fledgling hollyhocks and planted them near the North fence of the garden. Hollyhocks are extremely easy to grow, thrive in hot, sunny areas and need to be planted near a wall or fence for support because they can get up to eight feet tall.
Single-Flower Hollyhocks (the variety I have)
One of the Hollyhocks, planted end of April (pic taken end of May).

Double-Flower Hollyhocks

 A good friend gave me a packet of wildflower seeds as a gift when we bought the house. After getting the wildflower plot clear of weeds (for the moment, at least), P & I added garden soil, manure and compost to the plot and mixed them together with a garden rake. Then, P spread the seeds and we raked the soil again to cover them. I kept the soil wet for a couple of weeks and slowly the seedlings appeared. The only problem is that I'm having trouble telling the wildflower seedlings and weed seedlings apart! P's mom is visiting this week and she happens to be a super-weeder, so I'm hoping she can help me with determining what to pull and what to leave.
 On top of the wildflower seeds and the three hollyhocks, I picked up some perennials at the garden center to add some established flowers to the garden for near-instant visual intrest. Thanks to a generous gift card from the in-laws and a  Living Social 50% off coupon, I picked up three different types of coneflowers, one bee balm (aka monarda), three coreopsis (aka tickseed) and one agastache.


Bee Balm
Both the coreopsis and the agastache require little water once they are established. The coneflowers and the bee balm are simple to grow, spread easily and require the same amount of water as the veggie garden and the seedling wildflowers.

Tip: Planting flowers/plants of similar water, soil and light needs in the same area simplifies maintence and reduces the chances of under- or overwatering.

1 comment:

  1. Pictures of our actual garden are coming soon, I promise!