In the words of the late, great Tom Petty, "You belong among the wildflowers... Far away from your trouble and worries / You belong somewhere you feel free." Whenever I hear this song, I am in a wildflower meadow, enjoying the gentle breeze and swaying flowers, immersed in the joy of the moment. Wildflowers are the details along a well-beaten path that make it seem somehow different and interesting every time you visit, not only by their blossoms, but through the rainbow of pollinators and other wildlife visitors they sustain through the seasons.
I have been reflecting on how our lives have become so busy, and I wish I could slow us all down so we could experience the wildflowers hitting that reset button in our brains. I may not have figured out how to slow down the entire world, but what I can do is provide native wildflower seeds (and easy growing instructions) so you can create a little mini-meadow retreat of your own.
Native plants are among the most care-free of any blooms you can grow. They are tough and able to grow without much attention, including being drought tolerant, which gives you more time to enjoy them. Natives provide pollinators with high-quality pollen and nectar too, so a native garden bed, regardless of size, is also a real gift to pollinators, providing them with much needed habitat as well.
For me, fall is naturally the time to think about revamping an area or filling in an empty space. Wildflowers are inherently adapted to being sown between fall and early spring. Plants in their native habitat bloom, form seeds, drop those seeds sometime from summer to fall (depending on the species), and then the seeds rest until spring when conditions are just right for germination.
When prepping your own mini-meadow, do thoroughly weed and loosen the soil surface and place or rake seeds in to ¼" or so– see the seed packet for specifics. Our late spring storms are usually enough so I don't have to water, but if you have a dry spell in spring keep an eye on the soil moisture and water as needed. Native wildflowers grow well in average or even poor soils, so there is usually no need to amend your soil prior to sowing. You can choose a number of species with different bloom times so your space is always colorful or choose one of our native flower mixes. Just be sure to put full-sun varieties in 6 or more hours of sun so they stand tall, rather than reaching for more light, making stems weak and floppy. Once seedlings are all up and have put on some growth, say the end of June, I like to toss some mulch around the sprouted plants to help keep weeds down.
After that, I add a chair, and give myself some time to stop and enjoy my native wildflower retreat.
Have you created a mini-meadow wildflower garden or are you planning to? We would love to hear about it in the comments below.