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To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold-hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.
The Suttons found a beautiful piece of land in rural Michigan, and when their new home was built, wanted to preserve the rural character with wildflowers. Today, deer, wild turkeys, and a red-tailed hawk enjoy the flowers along with the homeowners. Here’s the story, as Mrs. Sutton wrote it for us.
Dear American Meadows:
My husband Bob and I built a beautiful new home in Union, Michigan, a very small town located just north of the Indiana state line in the southwest part of the state.
We regularly see wild turkeys and deer in the yard and have a red-tailed hawk that often sits in the edge of the woods behind the house and keeps watch over the place for us. We hoped to maintain this ‘wild’ appearance of the property, and planted yourin June 2008 just as we were getting ready to move in.
The earth was pretty bare but we killed any existing weeds with a commercial weed-killer, then spread the seed as directed and stirred it into the topsoil by dragging a weighed length of wire fencing behind our small tractor. We selected the area to plant next to the house because it is located between a cultivated field (corn or soybeans) and the edge of our screened-in porch. We wanted a beautiful view and the delicate scent of fresh flowers on the porch. And we got both, in abundance.
The first season was surprisingly colorful with numerous cosmos in various shades and a number of sunflowers, both standard and dwarf. By the end of the growing season thewere so abundant that the area simply glowed with lavender, white and pink, and stayed that way until the first heavy frost. We then mowed the area and hunkered down for a tough Michigan winter.
We over-seeded again in 2009 spring after the frost season finally gave it up for the year. Then we sat back and watched a beautiful transformation as red, yellow, blue, purple, white and other colors made themselves known when the biennials and perennials started to come in. Now, in high summer, the area is blanketed with hundreds of yellow, red and variegated daisy-like flowers, so numerous that you can see the color from the road, which is some 1300 feet away!
Thanks so much, American Meadows, for making this possible for us. Our meadow is a beautiful asset to the property and it receives rave reviews whenever we entertain outside.
.....The Suttons, Union, MI
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