Low Maintenance Landscaping With Wildflowers

by Amanda

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers in full bloom

My partner and I moved into a new home in late June and with it came a delightful mix of already-established gardens. But being the garden-fanatics that we are, we still wanted some projects to call our own without disturbing the existing garden beds.

 

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, Cosmos

Gladys posing by the wildflowers planted along the fence.

We thought of designing a new perennial bed, but by the time we moved in we just didn’t have the time, what with unpacking, painting, and all of those other fun things that accompany a move. Low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers seemed like the perfect answer. We could make our mark and get the satisfaction of watching something grow, minus the fuss and thought that go along with installing a formal garden.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, Cosmos

Preparing the area for low maintenance landscaping

Jeremiah had one area that he wanted to plant and I had my own. He tilled a three-foot area in an L-shape on the inside of our fence, lining the back of our property. He found that it worked best if he weed-whacked the grass down to almost nothing before tilling. This area was in great shape and didn’t need any additional soil or compost added to it before planting.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, preparing the area

Taking a break after tilling the bed.

My planting area abutted our stone patio and essentially extended an already-established bed by about four feet. This spot was a little harder to clear, with its stubborn roots and rocky soil. I had to bring in re-enforcements (my mom and dad) before planting, who helped me hand-pull the remaining grass and add in some compost to help enrich the soil. This was a bigger job than we originally thought, but was definitely worth it in the end.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, preparing the area

After we had prepped these areas, Jeremiah set a large Mockorange shrub he got from work in front of our screened porch, creating a circular garden bed around it. The perfect spot to add any leftover seed! 

Choosing the seed

Jeremiah is all about low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, so he chose the Northeast Wildflower Mix in his wildflower bed, which produces plenty of color in the first season and continues to bloom year after year. He is also obsessed with Sunflowers, so he mixed a pound of the Sunflower Seed Mix in with the Northeast Mix.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, zinnias

We had one suprise red Zinnia in hundreds of pink and purple!

I’m a little – um – higher-maintenance, and decided that I want to plant my wildflower bed so that it would bloom each season with a different mix of annuals. I love experimenting in the garden and see this bed as a place to have some fun.  I planted Zinnia Purple Prince, Zinnia Luminosa, Baby Snapdragons, Black Eyed Susans, Sunflowers and Sweet William. This garden had a pink and yellow color scheme and I knew going in that the Black Eyed Susans might not bloom until next year. The Sweet William were also a plan for next season – we planted them in Jeremiah’s parents’ garden last year and they are just spectacular.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, pink and orange cosmos

The pinks and oranges of the Cosmos have been stunning.

Regional Wildflower Seed Mixes:

  1. Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix

    The Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix contains 27 different annual and perennial wildflowers that thrive when planted in the Northeast. Exceptionally easy to grow, this mix brings a dyna...

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    Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $7.47
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix contains 27 different annual and perennial wildflowers that thrive when planted in the Northeast. Exceptionally easy to grow, this mix brings a dynamic medley of blooms to the landscape throughout the entire summer season, with no gaps in color. Annual wildflowers like Calendula and Cornflower appear quickly in the first year, while perennial varieties like Wild Lupine and Echinacea provide many years of color starting in the second season. Designed for planting in: CT, ME, MA, RI, VT, NH, DE, PA, NY, NJ, MD, WV, QC and the Eastern Provinces, this mix contains only 100% Pure, non-GMO & neonicotinoid-free seeds.
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  2. Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix

    The Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix is comprised of 28 different wildflower species, all perfect for planting in the Heartland of the USA. Designed to provide nonstop season-long color, ...

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    Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $7.47
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix is comprised of 28 different wildflower species, all perfect for planting in the Heartland of the USA. Designed to provide nonstop season-long color, annuals like Plains Coreopsis and Sulphur Cosmos burst into bloom their very first summer, while perennial varieties like Purple Prairie Clover and Black Eyed Susan deliver color for many years, starting in their second season. Contains 100% Pure, non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free seeds best for planting in: IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, NE, OH, WI and Ontario.
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  3. Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix

    Containing 26 different wildflowers that thrive when planted in the Southeastern US, the Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix brings steady color to the landscape throughout the summer seas...

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    Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $7.47
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Containing 26 different wildflowers that thrive when planted in the Southeastern US, the Southeast Wildflower Seed Mix brings steady color to the landscape throughout the summer season. Blooming in the first year, annual wildflowers like Cosmos and Rose Mallow deliver quick, bold color while perennial varieties like Scarlet Sage and Shasta Daisy offer years of lasting blooms beginning in their second season. Features 100% Pure, non-GMO and neonicotinoid-free seeds for planting in: AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, East TX, and VA.
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  4. Southwest Wildflower Seed Mix - California Poppy & Lupine

    The Southwest Wildflower Mix is comprised of 26 different wildflowers that will thrive in the Southwest region of the country. Designed to create show-stopping color all season long,...

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    Southwest Wildflower Seed Mix Southwest Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $7.47
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Southwest Wildflower Mix is comprised of 26 different wildflowers that will thrive in the Southwest region of the country. Designed to create show-stopping color all season long, this mix will burst into blooms the first year with annual wildflowers like African Daisy and California Poppy, and will provide color in years after with perennial varieties like Oxeye Daisy and Mexican Hat. For best results, plant in AZ, Southern CA, NM, Southern NV, OK and Western TX. All of the seed we offer at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
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Planting with wildflowers

Planting the wildflowers was definitely the easiest part of the process. I mixed the seed in an old ice-cream bucket and hand scattered it on the bare ground with Jeremiah following behind to step on the seed, compressing it into the soil. We walked over it one more time to make sure it was packed in and then watered. Overall, the entire process of planting both beds took less than an hour.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, mixing the seed

Mixing my seed.

Maintenance

One of the reasons we chose to plant wildflowers is there isn’t much maintenance required of the gardener after planting. But with the abnormally hot, dry summer we had here in Vermont, there wasn’t enough regular rain to help the wildflowers grow. So about twice a week (for the first few weeks), I had to connect a second hose to our first and drag it around to the back of the property to water the newly planted seeds.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, seedlings starting to sprout

Seedlings starting to come up after planting in Mid-July.

Watering is one of my least favorite garden activities so let’s just say I watered the absolute bare minimum I could get away with to keep those wildflowers alive. There is a visible difference in my wildflower bed and his, because I conveniently chose to plant my wildflowers next to our hose hookup. The zinnias got more water and therefore are much taller and fuller than the ones by the fence. Such a planner, I am.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, seedlings starting to sprout

Wildflowers blooming in mid-September.

It’s a true testament to the quality of American Meadows' seed – and the durability of wildflowers in general – that we planted in early July, I only watered the back bed a handful of times, and our gardens still grew into absolutely spectacular flower beds. This is exactly what we were after - a low maintenance landscaping miracle!

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, cosmos along a fence

Even without water, the wildflowers by the fence have been absolutely stunning.

Individual Wildflower Seed Species:

  1. Texas Bluebonnet, Lupine

    Limited Quantities Available!Texas Bluebonnet is a true-blue beauty and one of the worlds most well-known wildflowers. Famous for creating carpets of sweeping indigo color mid-season...

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    Texas Bluebonnet Seeds Texas Bluebonnet Lupinus texensis
    As low as $12.95
    Per 1 Ounce
    Limited Quantities Available!Texas Bluebonnet is a true-blue beauty and one of the worlds most well-known wildflowers. Famous for creating carpets of sweeping indigo color mid-season in meadows throughout the country, this variety prefers sandy, loamy and well-draining soils, as well as a minimum of six hours of sun per day. In warmer areas, Texas Bluebonnets act as perennials, coming back year after year, but in colder areas, they act as annuals. All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow. Annual.
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  2. Perennial Lupine Seeds

    A field of Lupine is an amazing sight, with spiky blooms of saturated indigo-blue that last from late spring to summer. Combine them with later-blooming flowers (like Shasta Daisy an...

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    Perennial Lupine Seeds Perennial Lupine Lupinus perennis
    As low as $11.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    A field of Lupine is an amazing sight, with spiky blooms of saturated indigo-blue that last from late spring to summer. Combine them with later-blooming flowers (like Shasta Daisy and Rudbeckia) for an extended season of color. Growing to be about 12-36” tall, Lupine is a great choice for the front of the meadow or garden bed. Extremely easy to grow and deer resistant, this perennial flower blooms year after year. Seeds are 100% pure, non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
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  3. Pink and Red and White Cosmos Seeds, Cosmos bipinnatus

    Cosmos lights up the garden or meadow in midsummer with pink, crimson and white flowers that hold until frost on tall plants. Attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds, its col...

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    Cosmos Seeds Cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus
    As low as $9.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Cosmos lights up the garden or meadow in midsummer with pink, crimson and white flowers that hold until frost on tall plants. Attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds, its colorful and abundant blooms are easy to grow in any region. Cosmos is a popular cutting flower with ferny foliage and strong stems and looks lovely planted along a fenceline. All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
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  4. White Shasta Daisy Seeds, Chrysanthemum maximum

    Shasta Daisies boast huge white blooms, sunny yellow center disks and glossy green foliage and best of all, they flower for the entire summer season. Perky and cheerful, Shasta Daisi...

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    Shasta Daisy Seeds Shasta Daisy Chrysanthemum maximum
    As low as $16.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Shasta Daisies boast huge white blooms, sunny yellow center disks and glossy green foliage and best of all, they flower for the entire summer season. Perky and cheerful, Shasta Daisies are spectacular in a meadow, wildflower garden, or when cut for bouquets. Long-lived perennials, these wildflowers will return with enthusiasm each year. All of the seed we offer at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
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Enjoying the results

Even though we had to wait a little later than normal for our wildflowers to bloom because we planted so late in the season, it was undoubtedly worth it. Every day I take a trip out in the morning and early evening to survey the beds and snap photos of what’s blooming.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, butterfly on zinnia

Even without water, the wildflowers by the fence have been absolutely stunning.

The Cosmos in the back bed have taken over and added a soft touch to the fence line.  My wildflower bed turned out to be mostly pink and purple, but I love it anyway and learned a lot about choosing seed (which really is the point in experimenting in the garden).

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, cat and cosmos

Everyone in the family has been enjoying the wildflowers.

We think our lovely bird population might have snacked on most of our Sunflower Seed because after planting a pound, we only have about a dozen Sunflower blooms. Next season I think we’ll bury the Sunflower seeds into the soil a bit more.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, sunflower

We've been treasuring every sunflower bloom.

A pollinator oasis

For us, the best part of our wildflower planting has been seeing how much the pollinators enjoy – and need – the wildflowers we planted. Our property already has a variety of native plants that bring pollinators in all season long, but the wildflowers have given them a new reason to stay. Each time I head out to the wildflower gardens I notice hundreds of bees, butterflies and even several hummingbirds.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, bees on cosmos

Bees and butterflies are loving the wildflowers.

Planning more low maintenance landscaping for next season

This fall, Jeremiah is extending his wildflower bed by another four feet and adding more of the Northeast Mix. I am going to add spring-blooming bulbs to my bed this fall and more Zinnias and Cosmos. This way, once the Daffodils, Tulips and Allium finish blooming, the wildflowers will take over.

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, zinnia and black eyed susan

A few of the black eyed susans are starting to show their colors in mid-September.

We are also digging up two large beds of orange Daylilies on the property this fall and planting the All Annual Mix as a stand-in until we can design a perennial garden. I posted on our local neighborhood forum that I would have daylilies to give away and got about 10 replies, with plenty of offers to help dig them up. I am excited to use this as a way to meet gardeners in my new town.

Wildflower Seed Mixes that Attract Pollinators:

  1. spring into summer wildflower mix

    The Spring Into Summer Wildflower Seed Mix (formerly known as Summer Splash) offers up some of the biggest color of any mixture we carry! With 46 easy-to-grow species, this is a grea...

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    Spring Into Summer Seasonal Wildflower Seed Mix Spring Into Summer Seasonal Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $9.95 Sale $8.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Spring Into Summer Wildflower Seed Mix (formerly known as Summer Splash) offers up some of the biggest color of any mixture we carry! With 46 easy-to-grow species, this is a great choice for new garden beds, replacing part of your lawn, or creating a naturalized meadow. Packed with heat-tolerant quick bloomers, this mix can be planted well into the summer for color in the first season. An easy, rewarding mix for those new to wildflowers and experts alike.
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  2. Monarch Butterfly Wildflower Seed Mix

    The Monarch Butterfly Wildflower Mix is an easy-to-grow compilation of 27 wildflowers that will thrive in any sunny location throughout the US. Including 4 different types of Milkwee...

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    Monarch Butterfly Wildflower Seed Mix Monarch Butterfly Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $15.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Monarch Butterfly Wildflower Mix is an easy-to-grow compilation of 27 wildflowers that will thrive in any sunny location throughout the US. Including 4 different types of Milkweed to ensure Monarchs have plenty of host plants to lay their eggs on, this mix also contains a variety of nectar-rich wildflowers for energizing monarch populations before they migrate. A blend of annuals and perennials provide early and lasting color. This is your go-to mixture for creating an official Monarch Waystation or simply helping out the local pollinators in your area.
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  3. Beneficial Bug Wildflower Seed Mix

    This mixture attracts beneficial bugs to the garden. Beneficial bugs include lacewings, lady bugs, hover flies and parasitic wasps, which help to destroy harmful pests such as aphids...

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    Beneficial Bug Wildflower Seed Mix Beneficial Bug Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $11.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    This mixture attracts beneficial bugs to the garden. Beneficial bugs include lacewings, lady bugs, hover flies and parasitic wasps, which help to destroy harmful pests such as aphids, thrips and mites.
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  4. Honey Bee Wildflower Seed Mix, Photo Credit Heidi Erickson

    The Honey Bee Wildflower Mix features 19 nectar-rich wildflowers and clovers adored by bees. Easy to grow across much of the country (zones 1 - 8), this pollinator-friendly mix inclu...

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    Honey Bee Wildflower Seed Mix Honey Bee Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $10.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    The Honey Bee Wildflower Mix features 19 nectar-rich wildflowers and clovers adored by bees. Easy to grow across much of the country (zones 1 - 8), this pollinator-friendly mix includes 12 annual varieties like Lacy Phacelia and Yellow Prairie Coneflower for quick, first-season blooms, and 7 perennial wildflowers like Mexican Hat and Echinacea for years of lasting color in the seasons to follow. Contains 100% Pure, non-GMO and Neonicotinoid-free seeds that are guaranteed to grow.
    Learn More

 

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, frost on zinniaWe had our first frost over the weekend.

You could definitely say we are wildflower-obsessed, with a grand plan to eventually reduce our huge lawn (almost two acres of grass) to at least 50% wildflowers and more perennial garden beds throughout. Wish us luck! 

low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers, dog zinnia

The perfect seat for morning coffee.

What about you – do you have a spot to try out some low maintenance landscaping with wildflowers? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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