Tag Archives: iris

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.



The 10-Year Plan

I think the biggest surprise I’ve gotten out of this year’s blooms is how happy I’ve been with the way my garden looks now. Don’t get me wrong – there’s a ton I want to improve and there have been some sad, scraggly looking bushes. But it’s evident even the worst offender is growing, and some doing even better than that.

Take the irises, for example. They were a gorgeous treat all through May. I’ll have to divide them this fall because they’re doing so very well, and I love the thought that something in this yard is established.


By the time the sunshine knock-out roses began doing their thing, the hybrid sage was in full purple glory, and things really looked like I’d actually planned this work of art.

Roses and Irises

This ties in, in part, to a fantastic article I read in the January/February 2013 issue of Gardening How-To. The article, “Worth the Wait” by Sarah Dorison (page 32), talked about the need for patience in starting a garden from scratch. Dorison┬áprofiled the owner of a landscape design company who advises “Paper first, backhoe second.”

Part of why this article so inspired me was the photos by Janet Loughrey. The “before” photos could have been my, or anyone’s, backyard. It was a square with a few neatly mulched trees. The “after” photo, however included a neat lawn, a lovely pond adjacent to a tidy patio, with all manner of wildflowers and cozy spitting spots corralled by beds of mulch – very much the look to which I aspire.

I’ve also read reminders recently (although the source unfortunately escapes me) that after three years a shrub starts to look established, after five years it begins to look like it’s meant to be in that spot, and after ten years you can’t tell it hasn’t always been there forever. Well, for many of my plants, this year marks the three-year point. There are still some scraggly beasts, and some that haven’t fared so well, and many that need a good pruning, but for the most part the plan is starting to look like just that.

Now, the only downside to this 10-year plan I’m working on is that I’m ready to establish new things now, since I know just how long there is to wait. But drawing is for this year’s to-do list, and planting is for next year!

Iris Beauty