A wildflower garden isn’t for everyone but may add something unique to your landscape. Most wildflowers are not hard to grow once you understand their nature. You could start a wildflower bed two different ways: 1) buying plants or seeds from commercial growers; 2) getting them from their native sites. Remember that many are protected by law and cannot be gathered from native sites unless construction projects will be uprooting them.
Great care must be taken when digging wildflowers or they will not survive. A lot of wildflower species have been depleted due to careless uprooting. Your best bet is to purchase hardy wildflowers from a nursery. Nursery-grown plants are generally better suited to your garden than those dug up in the wild.
Success rides planting wildflowers in the same conditions under which they grow naturally. For instance, marsh marigolds, swamp iris, and cattails like boggy conditions. Arbutus, goldenrod, most asters, and daisies, and black-eyed Susans like poor, dry soil. Do not try to grow woodsy shade lovers in the sun. Do not plant sun lovers in the shade and observe the conditions around your home before you try to start a wildflower garden.
A lot of wildflowers like shade and humusy soil. The north side of the house where few tame flowers would grow can be turned into a wildflower bed if the soil is prepared to resemble conditions where shade-loving plants are grown by nature.
Study wildflower catalogs and reference books before planting. Flowers that grow naturally in wooded areas love generous amounts of humus in the soil, and moisture in hot weather.
Spring is perhaps the best time to start a wildflower garden, although some plants can be moved during fall. Success rate is high when moving early-flowering species like Dutchman’s Breeches in fall. The secret is to maintain the soil moist after transplanting, particularly during a dry fall.
Warning! Be careful about putting wildflowers to your front lawn. Some neighbors may object to the “no one lives here look” of a wildflower front yard, and city officials occasionally frown upon wildflower yards and have passed ordinances forbidding them.
© 2012 Athena Goodlight