Wildflowers forum→Creating a Wildflower Field -- Tell us how you sowed yours

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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Apr 29, 2018 10:27 AM CST
There are a number of us who have managed to create wildflower fields or areas on our property. I am sure we have used different methods of sowing the seeds & achieving our goal. Please tell us how you did yours, how many years it took, what lessons you learned along the way and what, in hindsight, you would do differently.

Here is a link to the traditional method of establishing a wildflower meadow. If you google how to do such, this is the same method you will come up with all over the internet, on wildflower seed seller sites, in books & magazines. There is nothing wrong with this method however, it assumes you have the time, money, access to water & equipment. In reality, most of us don't. In my case, I have 6 acres and there is no way I can get water to all of that or cover it all with plastic or have or purchase enough compost etc., etc., etc.
https://garden.org/learn/artic...

I live where pocket gophers do. They leave the most hideous looking blight upon the fields in the form of the dirt mounds that they pile up one after the other as they move along underground making their tunnels. I had always envisioned wildflower fields covering most of the property. One winter day, getting disgusted looking out at the gopher mounds and thinking about how to create wildflower meadows, I had an epiphany. Why not turn a negative into a positive? Can it be done? I said to myself it was worth a shot. So I gathered a hand sized garden spade, a large square edge garden spade, a bucket full of wildflower seed and an empty bucket.
Thumb of 2018-04-29/flaflwrgrl/e6bdea
Out into the fields I went. The mounds look like this:
The thread "Gopher mounds" in Plant ID forum
The idea was to break the mound down to ground level, while spreading some of the dirt around to make a larger area to sow seed. This way the seed would be touching dirt (or sand in my case) rather than the field grass. This would hopefully allow the seed a better chance to germinate & take hold. I would shovel some dirt into the empty bucket for sprinkling on top of the seed once sown.
Thumb of 2018-04-29/flaflwrgrl/c2edbc
Thumb of 2018-04-29/flaflwrgrl/0f3ba3

Breaking down the mound & spreading it out
Thumb of 2018-04-29/flaflwrgrl/f90ef7

Once the mound is spread out, you sprinkle seed over it
Thumb of 2018-04-29/flaflwrgrl/f4399f

Sprinkle a whisper of dirt from the dirt bucket on top of the seed
Thumb of 2018-04-29/flaflwrgrl/502bb8

And then do what I call the wildsowing dance which is lightly stomping on the whole to tamp it all down
Thumb of 2018-04-29/flaflwrgrl/3e95e3

And then you move on to the next one. Here is a whole line of the mounds that I have done.
Thumb of 2018-04-29/flaflwrgrl/94ea17

After that, you let nature take her course. The strong survive.

You sow the seed in the fall or winter anytime after the first 3 frosts have occurred. I have found that for the most part, the seed sown in one year will not really come to fruition until the following year. Some do, but most will not be evident until the next year. My theory is that they need to pass a winter first. Nature tells them when to germinate & grow.

I have refined the sowing method from the above. Experience has taught me that I can cut certain steps out of the process. Now I take a hoe & use it to knock down & spread out the mound. Sprinkle the seed & there is no need to sprinkle dirt over the seed; just do the wildsowing dance & move on to the next one. The process goes a lot more quickly & it seems like the end results are every bit as good. I only need 1 bucket which is the one with the seed in it, and the hoe.

I have also just plain walked out there & free thrown seed. This does work but you will not get nearly the amount of germination as you do when sowing seed in direct contact with soil so you will be wasting a lot of seed which equals dollars.

We have the fields bush hogged around Sept. each year. The wildflowers do re-seed themselves and the bush hog helps to spread them around.

I began by primarily buying the wildflower mixes designed & sold for my region. I added individual species such as phlox, rudbeckia & tickseed as I wanted a lot of those. After the first 2 years of using the regional wildflower mixes, I learned what really worked here & what didn't and thereafter, I have only ordered seeds by individual species. More bang for your buck and not wasting time, money & effort on seed that won't work out in your particular circumstances.

Hindsight being 20/20, here's what I would do differently:
Starting with the first year, I would have bought & sown a whole lot more seed! I would have had far more wildflower coverage much faster.

Here's where I am in year 4.
The thread "Year 4 Wildflowers progress" in Wildflowers forum
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others. ~~ Sharon Brown
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Apr 29, 2018 12:56 PM CST
Well, I am here watching this thread as I find the wildflower meadows just lovely.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Apr 29, 2018 1:07 PM CST
Thanks Rita!
I'm not sure anything compares with the year you planted something like 10,000 tulip bulbs though!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others. ~~ Sharon Brown
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Apr 29, 2018 2:55 PM CST

Moderator

Excellent idea Ann, you took a negative and turned it into a positive, and I love it. Hurray!
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Apr 29, 2018 3:19 PM CST
Thank you Josephine! Smiling
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others. ~~ Sharon Brown
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Legalily
May 21, 2018 1:21 PM CST
Gorgeous Ann Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
May 21, 2018 1:26 PM CST
Thank you Ginny! Smiling
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others. ~~ Sharon Brown
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
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Legalily
May 21, 2018 1:33 PM CST
Our field is tall grass and weeds. Something tells me I have to do a little more digging rather than scattering to get things going. I have some coneflowers, daisies, joe pye weed and baptisia in the front of it and was kind of hoping the wind would spread it around a little nodding nodding
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
May 21, 2018 6:17 PM CST
Legalily said:Our field is tall grass and weeds. Something tells me I have to do a little more digging rather than scattering to get things going. I have some coneflowers, daisies, joe pye weed and baptisia in the front of it and was kind of hoping the wind would spread it around a little nodding nodding


I think so Ginny. It doesn't have to be deep but it works much better when they make contact with the ground and all you have to do is wait till the 3rd frost has passed. People think they can't sow seed when winter is coming & things are going to freeze. Well, out there in nature plants drop their seed at the end of the season & winter comes & freezes happen & come spring the seeds sprout. Nature knows what to do far better than we piddling humans do.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others. ~~ Sharon Brown
Name: kathy
Michigan (Zone 4b)
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
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katesflowers
Sep 20, 2018 4:01 PM CST
Beautiful idea.
We have all kinds of animal dens located around our field. I will use your idea - thank you !
Here's part of our 11 acre field, covered in sweet pea blooms this summer.

Thumb of 2018-09-20/katesflowers/2a01de

"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
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Legalily
Sep 20, 2018 4:04 PM CST
Kathy the sweet peas are so pretty Lovey dubby
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Sep 20, 2018 4:12 PM CST
They do look so pretty.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Sep 20, 2018 4:53 PM CST
You're welcome!
They really are "sweet" sweet peas Kathy. How pretty. Remember, you don't have to wait until spring to sow the seed, just wait till you've had 3 frosts.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others. ~~ Sharon Brown
Coastal TX (Sunset 28/31) (Zone 9a)
JuniperAnn
Nov 8, 2018 11:01 PM CST
I bought a 2 lb pack of native wildflower seeds at Home Depot, and my preschooler and I hand scattered them on the electrical right of way behind our property one evening when rain was predicted overnight. It's our first time doing this, so I have no idea if it will work. But even if we only get a few flowers, it was a fun mother-daughter activity for $7, and we'll probably do it again annually any year that I think of it.
[Last edited by JuniperAnn - Nov 8, 2018 11:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Legalily
Nov 9, 2018 7:39 AM CST
Awesome JuniperAnn Hurray! Crossing Fingers!
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Nov 9, 2018 12:33 PM CST
@JuniperAnn Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others. ~~ Sharon Brown
Name: Lauri
N Central Wash. - the dry side (Zone 5b)
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lauribob
Mar 20, 2019 11:29 AM CST
I love seeing all of your wildflower photos - so beautiful. I too have utilized burrowing rodent mounds when I decided to plant some siberian irises out in our pasture, that I had thinned out of a crowded flower bed. Much easier than digging, and they're doing great. I may try your method with some seeds this year.
More costumes, less uniforms!
Name: Cal McGaugh
Escondido, California (Zone 10b)
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EscondidoCal
Apr 24, 2019 1:27 AM CST
@flaflwrgrl,

way to go, Ann! Thumbs up

Make those gophers pay their way! Great idea to use their mounds
to start wildflowers. Hurray!

I learned a new term, "hog bushing".
A mower on steroids. Smiling

BTW, would love to see a video at YouTube of the "wildsowing dance". Thumbs up

Here's our wildflower "field"......not very big, but I look forward to it every year.
Thumb of 2019-04-24/EscondidoCal/bfd614

Thumb of 2019-04-24/EscondidoCal/ecd538

Thumb of 2019-04-24/EscondidoCal/610243
It's a wild coreopsis I found growing on several undeveloped acres in Carlsbad, Ca.
I took a few babies home, and they took off, and re-seeded very well each year.
Most are yellow, but some are white.
I help them spread by taking a rake & whacking the seed heads in fall when they're dry.
They are pretty drought resistant, and come up like a lawn in plain decomposed granite
with wood chip on it.
Let me know if you'd like some seeds to try.....I have have plenty. Smiling





Learn & create something every day.
Our Duck Pond The thread "Pool to Natural Pond Conversion" in Ponds and Water Gardening forum
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Apr 24, 2019 5:26 AM CST
Oh those are beautiful Cal! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Hilarious! Hilarious! Rake whacking. Good idea! Thumbs up
I could give this a shot for sure. I love the ferny look to the leaves too. I'll pm you.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others. ~~ Sharon Brown
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hibiscus Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Lilies Garden Art
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Legalily
Apr 24, 2019 6:14 AM CST
My wildflowers are coming in beautifully Hurray! Hurray! Can't wait to see blooms. Cal maybe you should patent your Rack whacking Hilarious!
Be a person that makes others feel special.

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