Thursday, June 12, 2014

The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la

Apparently, all my worrying last week about our new wildflower bed was premature. In fact, it almost seemed like the minute I posted my concerns about it, the flowers went, "Hey, give us a chance!" and started producing more numerous and varied blooms each day. First we got more of the bright yellow California poppies; then the tall ones in the back turned out to be dark-blue bachelor's buttons; then came some pink candytuft; and now there are a few red poppies and
some large pink and white ones that I can't even identify from the list on the American Meadows site.

There's still quite a lot of the baby's breath, mostly clumped together near the front of the bed. That wouldn't be a problem, as it makes a nice sort of background for the multicolored blooms, except that every time it rains—which it's been doing quite a lot this week—the narrow little stems flop over, turning the baby's breath into baby's spit-up. Fortunately, the baby's breath, like the other flowers we have right now, is an annual, so it won't be around to dominate the bed next year. 

So, on the whole, I'm now fairly pleased with the the first-year results for this wildflower mix. It took a few months to get going, but it's now producing a nice variety of flowers for our table, and it should continue doing so until the frost comes. However, it still remains to be seen how the bed will look when the plants die back over the winter, as well as how pleased we'll be with the mix of perennial plants next year. We might still end up deciding that we need something evergreen in back of this bed to provide a bit of winter interest, or that the perennials American Meadows chose don't work well in our soil and need to be supplemented.

Even if we end up replacing some part of the perennial bed, however, I'd say we still got good value for our money just from the annuals. We seeded the whole area with a quarter-pound of seed, which cost $15.90 including shipping. Filling in the whole area with individual plants—say, some easy-to-grow petunias—would have cost at least as much, taken a lot more work, and not provided us with nearly as much variety in height and color. And we'd still have to plant the whole area again next year.
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