I remember planting the garden with my parents one spring in my teenaged years. It was a wildflower bed that surrounded their small pond. It was beautiful and wild and colourful and AMAZING! I loved the striking and informal look of the variety of colours and textures. The staggered bloom times ensured that flowers were growing and bloom from spring until fall. I loved it. It is certainly the garden that stand out most in my mind out of all of the years that I got my hands dirty alongside my parents (shout out to Mom and Dad reading this!).
The first spring after moving into our current home, I had an infant and was recovering from a terrible bout of shingles (yes, it happens to young-ish people too!). I did not have the ability to get into the garden much that year, aside from planting a couple of raised beds using the little energy that I could muster. One of my efforts was to throw a some wildflower seeds onto the surface of the existing beds and praying for a few blooms. Well, that didn't happen. The soil was like dust and the only things that the garden could grow were dandelions, creeping buttercup, and bindweed. I wanted those wildflowers so desperately. The next spring, I got into the garden as early as I could and weeded it and amended the soil enough to breathe a bit of life into it. Then, I repeated the scattering and praying routine. Voila! It worked! The scrappy little seedlings were fighting their way out of the ground and soon enough, the blooms began to open. I had wildflowers blooming right though November (!). It was a beautiful sight to behold. The tangled mess of colours and textured spilled from the beds.
One of the biggest benefits of planting is welcoming beneficial insects to your garden. They will reward your botanical generosity with abundant pollination. Your crops which require pollination will result is greater and more reliable yields. This past summer I listened to the bees humming in harmony a song of happiness. Watching the honeybee and bumblebee traffic was mesmerizing. I believe that thanks to our wildflower garden, we had a colony of cute little bumblebees make themselves at home in one of our abandoned bird houses. It was so fun watching them come and go over the summer. I’m hoping that when the weather warms up, that we’ll see their sweet fuzzy faces emerge again.
I had three bird families nest on our property. I had a wide variety of bird visitors that we had b=never had before. The hummingbirds visited many times daily. Our garden was alive in more ways than one. Not only was it blooming, but the creatures that had invited themselves over was a real treat.
It truly was a garden for all the senses; sight, touch, taste (the dill!), smell, and sound. I think most of the pictures that I took of my garden last year were the wildflowers. I was in love. So much so, that part of me is considering planting a wildflower garden in our front yard as well.
I urge you to consider dedicating at least part of your precious garden to wildflowers. Let the flowers that are happiest in those conditions really shine! Embrace the tangled, wild mass of blooms and leaves invite birds and insects to your garden. Let the perennials spread and the flowers self-sow. There is beauty in letting nature take the reins.
Should you plant wildflowers and then wish to try something new or different the next year, clean up is usually pretty quick and easy. The only consideration that you might want to weigh is selecting a wildflower seed mix which is curated for your area to ensure a higher success rate and you are not sowing seeds which could be considered invasive (or aggressive propagators) in your garden.
So there you have it- get wild! Try out some wildflowers in your garden. I don't think that you'll be disappointed.