Growing Wildflowers - Cosmos

I have had only one experience attempting to grow wildflowers, which was a couple of years ago, and I did not have much success. But I decided to try again. This time I found a great resource, the Vermont Wildflower Farm, and decided to visit them to get their help in selecting the right seeds and learning how to plant them. When I arrived, I was completely surprised to find that they have seeds galore! And not only seeds galore, but seeds for partial shade gardens, ground cover, the midwest, the southeast, the southwest, the west, the pacific west, and for us in the northeast. As I stood in their store pondering the endless options, and feeling a little overwhelmed trying to make my selections, I was very happy to learn they have preselected mixes ready to purchase, which was quite a relief to my husband as we may have been there all day.

There is much to learn about planting wildflowers, everything from preparing the soil to mixing the seeds with sand to help spread them evenly. For our planting, we will clear sections in our meadow this fall and plant the seeds after a killing frost (28ºF), when daytime temperatures are no higher than 45ºF. Once the seeds are distributed, they need to be compressed with a lawn roller or by covering them with a flat piece of cardboard and stepping on them. They shouldn’t be covered or raked. Since they are planted in the fall, this is what is called a dormant planting and no watering should be done. The experts at Vermont Wildflower Farm also recommended that we save a quarter of the seeds until next spring and spread those around to extend the growing season.

Our first year we will only see the annuals like Catchfly, Multi Cornflower, Plains Coreopsis, and Wild Sunflowers to name a few. The following year the perennials and biennials will start blooming, with the remainder appearing the third year, including Orange Poppies, Perennial Lupine, Shasta Daisies, and Sweet William.

I feel as if a whole new world has opened up to me by growing wildflowers. Though I find it ironic to intentionally “grow” wildflowers, I am very excited to see what comes up next year and the years to follow, and even more so to share them with you. I am already thinking about a sunny summer day, walking out in our meadow to cut some wildflowers to make sweet bouquets to share with friends.

Please share with me your experience of planting and growing wildflowers.

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