Wildflower Answers http://wildfloweranswers.com Growing Wild Wed, 06 Apr 2011 00:22:46 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1 Enjoying Nature Wherever You Are http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/enjoying-nature-wherever-you-are/ http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/enjoying-nature-wherever-you-are/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 23:43:45 +0000 Wildflower Answers http://wildfloweranswers.com/?p=43 I fondly remember trips I’ve taken to some of the great nature destinations in the U.S. Places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, The Great Smoky Mountains, & Big Bend. Many years ago, Julie and I got to spend an entire fall rambling around Oregon and N. California with an ecologist, learning the plants, animals, and geology of desert, mountain, and coastal ecosystems.  We’ve seen many beautiful nature scenes and fascinating natural phenomena on these trips. But part of the reason these trips are so memorable is because they are so rare. Most of us working stiffs don’t have (or take) opportunities on a regular basis to visit national parks and nature preserves. Ah, but nature is all around us on a daily basis—in our backyards, in the walk from the car to the office, at the city park, even in the mall parking lot.

The best place to get a regular, calming dose of nature is in our own backyards. There are natural phenomena unfolding beneath our noses every day and night, right where we live: flowers are being pollinated in amazing ways by all sorts of critters and intricate methods, animals are competing for food and mates—and trying not to become someone else’s food in the process. There is more competing and loving, fighting and trickery going on in most backyards than we’ll ever see on TV (isn’t that what most TV shows are about anyway?). But we have to get outside and observe it. Just open the back door and take a look.

And the more native plants in your yard the more there will be to observe. Research by Doug Tallamy at the University of Delaware has shown that native plants support a more robust palette of insects than non-native plants. Insects can be fascinating, in their own right, to watch and learn about. But think of them also as bird food, as frog food, as lizard food, as fish food, as shrew food . . . you get the idea.

I’ll try to share in future blogs some of the things I’ve seen—not on nature trips to famous destinations—but in my own backyard. And you can comment back on some things you’ve seen in yours. I’ll give some tips on how you can improve your ability to really see what is going on there—see with a naturalist’s eyes. You can even teach your kids how if you have some at home. What a great legacy to leave them! Stay tuned . . .

BH

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Where to Use Native Wildflowers? http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/where-to-use-native-wildflowers/ http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/where-to-use-native-wildflowers/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 22:17:41 +0000 Wildflower Answers http://wildfloweranswers.com/?p=31 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi. Nam liber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue nihil imperdiet doming id quod mazim placerat facer possim assum. Typi non habent claritatem insitam; est usus legentis in iis qui facit eorum claritatem. Investigationes demonstraverunt lectores legere me lius quod ii legunt saepius. Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis viden

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Why Use Native Wildflowers? http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/why-use-native-wildflowers/ http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/why-use-native-wildflowers/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 21:59:28 +0000 Wildflower Answers http://wildfloweranswers.com/?p=26 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi. Nam liber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue nihil imperdiet doming id quod mazim placerat facer possim assum. Typi non habent claritatem insitam; est usus legentis in iis qui facit eorum claritatem. Investigationes demonstraverunt lectores legere me lius quod ii legunt saepius. Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis viden

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How to Cultivate Wildflowers From Seed? http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/how-to-cultivate-wildflowers-from-seed/ http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/how-to-cultivate-wildflowers-from-seed/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 21:33:57 +0000 Wildflower Answers http://wildfloweranswers.com/?p=17 Good planning almost always means good results. Here are some things you should consider.

STEP 1: The Plan: Where to Start and How Much

  • How large is the area and how much seed do you need? In the southern states, 1 lb. will cover about 2000 sq. ft. but in the other regions 1 lb. will cover about 3-4000 sq. ft. There is increased competition in the south with more moisture and more weeds (undesirable wildflowers, if you will). Therefore, the recommended rate for large area is 2X or double. Southern rate=15-20 lb. per acre All other regions 10-15 lb. per acre.
  • What is the exposure? Is it full sun, or partly shaded. Dark shade (no direct light whatsoever) is not recommended for seeding wildflowers (there are however a few varieties that will do well). If the area has less than 6 hours of full sun or is dappled light, you will want to consider using a shade tolerant mixture or shade-loving species.
  • Wildflowers are an investment in beauty, natural heritage, wildlife of all kinds, and color. Wildflowers that are native (originally found in an area) are EXPENSIVE, but the results are beautiful, natural, and long-lasting. Less expensive mixtures of seeds can certainly be found but the amount of native seed in those is quite small. The cheaper wildflowers are showy and colorful but they are not as able to naturalize and grow on in an area, on their own, as most of our native plants here in the eastern (of the rockies) United States. In Arkansas we have many wonderful native seeds but they are in short supply and are expensive to include in mixtures BUT WE DO! So there’s the long and short of it. Be prepared to spend on seed$480-$800/acre, or $59-$69 per lb. on 1-10 lb. quantities.

STEP 2: The Prep – Time Spent in Preperation Will Pay Off in Flowers

  • How large is the area and how much seed do you need? In the southern states, 1 lb. will cover about 2000 sq. ft. but in the other regions 1 lb. will cover about 3-4000 sq. ft. There is increased competition in the south with more moisture and more weeds (undesirable wildflowers, if you will). Therefore, the recommended rate for large area is 2X or double. Southern rate=15-20 lb. per acre All other regions 10-15 lb. per acre.
  • What is the exposure? Is it full sun, or partly shaded. Dark shade (no direct light whatsoever) is not recommended for seeding wildflowers (there are however a few varieties that will do well). If the area has less than 6 hours of full sun or is dappled light, you will want to consider using a shade tolerant mixture or shade-loving species.
  • Wildflowers are an investment in beauty, natural heritage, wildlife of all kinds, and color. Wildflowers that are native (originally found in an area) are EXPENSIVE, but the results are beautiful, natural, and long-lasting. Less expensive mixtures of seeds can certainly be found but the amount of native seed in those is quite small. The cheaper wildflowers are showy and colorful but they are not as able to naturalize and grow on in an area, on their own, as most of our native plants here in the eastern (of the rockies) United States. In Arkansas we have many wonderful native seeds but they are in short supply and are expensive to include in mixtures BUT WE DO! So there’s the long and short of it. Be prepared to spend on seed$480-$800/acre, or $59-$69 per lb. on 1-10 lb. quantities.

STEP 3: The Planting – Putting the Seeds on the Soil

  • Now comes the fun part!!!! But you don’t want to use up your seeds before you run out of space. So we suggest getting some slightly moist sand or vermiculite and mixing the seed in about a 5 to 1 ratio of sand to seed. Just take a bucket and mix in your sand and seed, squish your hands in it and mix well. This also helps you to see where you have seeded. Hand broadcast sand/seed or put mixture in a hand or push seeder.After you have seeded the area.
  • You want to press seed into soil lightly which is done naturally as you lightly mulch over the area with wheat or pine straw (seedless as poss) in a light layer so you can still see the soil but coverage is over entire surface. Other mulches cover the seeds and can prevent light from getting to seeds. Covering the seeds with soil (or heavy mulch) is the main reason for poor germination.
  • Now, water thoroughly and pray for good rain over the next few weeks to help seedlings establish. If you can irrigate, one inch per week is adequate. Fall or winter planting is recommended if you do not have irrigation available.

STEP 4: Patience – Don’t Judge Your Success too Soon

When do wildflower seeds germinate? When the conditions are right. Period. Many wildflowers germinate in cool temperatures, (another plus for fall planting), others in hot summer temperatures. Therefore if you’ve planted a mixture, you’ll have seeds germinating at their preferred soil temperature over a long period of time as the soil temperature goes from cooler to warmer temperatures.

Many perennial (ones that come back each year from the root) wildflowers do not bloom the first year from seed. So if your mixture has both annuals (ones that flower and produce seed then die) and perennials you will see some new flowers the second year. Holland Wildflower Farm seed mixtures are usually a special combination of annuals, biennials(also bloom second year), and perennials. The second year will bring new blooms and a more established wildflower plot. Yes, Yes, patience, I said PATIENCE…………………………

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Should I Plant a Seed Mix or Individual Wildflower Seeds? What About Native Grasses? http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/should-i-plant-a-seed-mix-or-individual-wildflower-seeds-what-about-native-grasses/ http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/should-i-plant-a-seed-mix-or-individual-wildflower-seeds-what-about-native-grasses/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 21:14:20 +0000 Wildflower Answers http://wildfloweranswers.com/?p=12 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi. Nam liber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue nihil imperdiet doming id quod mazim placerat facer possim assum. Typi non habent claritatem insitam; est usus legentis in iis qui facit eorum claritatem. Investigationes demonstraverunt lectores legere me lius quod ii legunt saepius. Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis viden

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What is a Native Wildflower? Why does it Matter? http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/what-is-a-native-wildflower-why-does-it-matter/ http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/what-is-a-native-wildflower-why-does-it-matter/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 21:03:25 +0000 Wildflower Answers http://wildfloweranswers.com/?p=9 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi. Nam liber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue nihil imperdiet doming id quod mazim placerat facer possim assum. Typi non habent claritatem insitam; est usus legentis in iis qui facit eorum claritatem. Investigationes demonstraverunt lectores legere me lius quod ii legunt saepius. Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum.

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Hello world! http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/hello-world/ http://wildfloweranswers.com/2011/04/hello-world/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 16:46:17 +0000 Wildflower Answers http://wildfloweranswers.com/?p=1 Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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