Monthly Archives: April 2014

Sowing Wild Flowers

The most recent additions to my new cut flower garden are starting to show signs of life. Two years ago, on our honeymoon in Montana, Chris bought me a pack of wildflower seeds. Grow the Flowers of Glacier, the packaging promises. Included are:

  • My first view in reverse; you can see the Glacier Park Lodge's beautiful pathway of local flowers leading straight to the train station.

    The Glacier Park Lodge’s beautiful pathway of local flowers leading straight to the train station.

  • Paintbrush
  • Gaillardia
  • Fireflower
  • Phlox
  • Rose
  • Flax
  • Columbine
  • Forget-Me-Not
  • Lupine
  • Penstemon
  • Iris
  • Bluebell

Some of these I know. Some have such intriguing names that I can’t wait to meet them.

After the last good rain, I turned the dirt in the new garden one more time, simply loosening it with a rake and pulling out any hints of grass and clover left behind. Next, I sprinkled the entire contents of the bag into the loose soil. I covered the seeds with a thin layer of potting soil, simply shaking big handfuls evenly over the seeds. I’ve been watering daily, as much to keep the little seeds growing as to keep my four-legged assistant from settling in this nice cool patch of dirt.

The instructions included with the seeds note that some of these flowers are annual and some perennials. Some may take two or even three years to creep up out of the ground. And of course, two years have passed since I should have tucked them into the dirt.

Still, my two-legged helper and I have been inspecting the grounds daily. Little Rose is insistent on toddling everywhere now, which she can only do if I hold her hands to keep her steady as we explore. It gives me a good, close view of the ground, though, which is the only way I could have spotted the minute hints of green peeking up out of the dirt yesterday. Rose and I stopped to applaud our success, then went off to fetch the hose. There’s a long way to go before those little sprigs of green are ready to bloom.

Wildflowers

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Flowers for Fun

It’s happening! It’s been so long since I’ve had a gardening vision take physical shape and I can’t believe it’s really happening. I’ve been floating on clouds (sinking in mud?) all week, every time I look out the window.

To start, here’s what I was working with:

Before photoThe long explanation is that I’m tired of planting foundation plants and watching them get eaten by deer, burnt by sun, lashed by wind, situated in poor locations then put in proper locations where they look even punier, and worse. This year I gave up (not completely: fertilizing is done, I’ve been researching when to prune, and I am trying to pay closer to attention to where the plants want to be. Just not focusing all of my energy here). I decided I wanted pure fun, a place to grow my Montana wildflowers and where my roses could shine. I decided on this particular spot because it gets great sun, I have a wonderful view of it from the nursery and I am sick of doing 100 little circles trying to get this area mowed – now it’s just one big circle to work around.

Chris and I started the garden last week by creating an outline with a hose to establish our borders and agree on the general size of what we wanted. Next, we¬† took spade to dirt and began clearing out the grass and loosening up the soil as we worked. We slapped a wide-brimmed gardening hat on our little Rose, but after the first minor leaf-eating-vomiting incident, we invited her grandmother to come visit and keep her giggling while we worked. So as of yesterday, voila, here’s what we have:

Rose's GardenMy goal was to have a sitting area where I could enjoy the pond, kids at play, the smell of flowers, the shade of the dogwood. In the background several new India Hawthorne were added to expand on the ones I already have (those dead-looking but not dead-acting plants on the right. Deer-resistant does not mean deer-proof, clearly, and I’ll be dealing with that this winter). Behind the bench is my potted rose, which it turns out has sent tendrils of root well beyond the pot. On either side is mounding artemesia, which I chose because it is incredibly soft and adds a fun dimension to the garden. In the foreground are my incredible fall daisies.

Pond ViewThere’s still a lot of empty space, but that’s another factor I was aiming for. My goal is to ultimately have color in this garden from at least March to November, from the first crocus to the last pansy. I’m going to try to control myself and add a little more each month until I have a complete firework, from initial spark to the big bursting bang and the last awe-inspiring fizzle. On the list: butterfly-attracting lantana for the height of summer, as well as sunshiny coreopsis and coneflowers, asters for fall, .

Sitting SpotThe one thing I am going to rush out to buy is a fun staked drink holder … and a couple yards of mulch.