I was attending a lecture recently from a botany professor at the local university. My ears perked when the topic of wildflowers came up. He showed some slides, talked about some ideas for incorporating wildflowers into landscapes and then proceeded to tell people to look for, "those meadows in a can". Boy was I really disappointed when I heard those words?
Being passionate gardeners, we all want success. We want the best veggies, best flowers and neighborhood bragging rights. So it's not unusual that when I’m speaking with a gardener that may have had mixed results with an initial wildflower planting, they are willing to try again. They want results- they want wildflowers!
So I'll usually begin with asking a simple question, "Where did you get your wildflower seeds?" (You can see where this is going…). "I bought one of those 'meadows in a can' at the big box store." My initial reaction is disappointment that yet another fellow gardener has fallen prey to the fancy, colorful packaging that yielded poor results, at best. Another gardener that spent $9.95 on 95% inert matter and only 5% wildflower seed. No one ever reads the fine print on the back of the can! What is 'inert matter'? It's anything but seed, added to make the can bigger and act as a sewing aid. You mind as well be buying and spreading sawdust!
But this disappointment quickly turns into another great opportunity to educate and provide knowledge to my fellow gardening friend in hopes of them establishing a successful wildflower meadow.
So I'll start with telling them that all true wildflower seed mixtures are just that, wildflower seed! 100% pure, lab tested wildflower seed. Secondly you're going to find 2-3 times more species in mixtures from companies like American Meadows than you do in a can mix. Variety is important for long term success and also helps combat weeds and grasses. Top mixtures also contain a nice balance of annuals and perennials. Unlike the can mixes that are loaded with mostly annuals, top mixtures are designed to give you not only annual color the first growing season but perennials for the second and successive seasons. Sure, we all want instant gratification but we would also like to enjoy our work for years to come.
At American Meadows, wildflowers are what we do! For almost 30 years we've been helping gardeners all across the country establish successful wildflower plantings. For the same $9.95 you spent on the tin can, you can get a full quarter pound of many of our dozens of proven wildflower seed mixtures. If you don't believe us, listen to what Country Living magazine had to say: http://www.americanmeadows.com/NewsRoom/RecentStories/CountryLiving.aspx. We're here for you. Ask questions, send pictures and I guarantee it will be the best $9.95 you spend this spring!