We Love Wildflowers: A Meadowscaping Success Story
Erin, a long-time American Meadows employee, is a Master Gardener, and she is always experimenting with new plants and wildflowers at her home in northern Vermont. Her yard features a large, steep hill with beautiful mountain views beyond. It’s the perfect place to grow a meadow!
Read on to see her meadowscaping project from start to finish over the course of a full growing season.
First, Preparing To Plant Wildflowers
Early in the spring, Mike The Seed Man helped Erin's family prepare a 4,000 square foot area in her meadow to plant a variety of wildflowers, including our Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix, Black Eyed Susans, Zinnias, Cosmos and more. For planting a large meadow like this one, thorough preparation is a good investment in the long-term success of the meadow. (Plus, who doesn’t love a tractor ride?)
Mike used a tractor to dig up the existing grass, then rototilled the area to loosen the soil. Rototilling helps loosen the soil, creating a good seed bed for seedlings to sprout and take root.
Next, Sowing Seeds
After the soil was carefully prepared, it was time to sow seeds. They spread the seed by hand, which is Mike’s preferred seeding method to ensure even distribution.
Once seeds were sown, they used a roller to compress the seed into the soil. This process helps to ensure good seed-to-soil contact, which prevents seeds from washing away in the rain and encourages good germination and healthy root systems for seedlings.
Watching The Meadow Bloom
The next part is waiting and watching the meadow grow! In the early summer, seedlings were tall and well-established, but the blooms were not ready yet!
Helpful Tip! Wildflowers have different lifecycles – Annuals, such as Zinnias, Sunflowers, and Cosmos will bloom in the first season, and they only have a one-year lifecycle, meaning they will die at the end of the growing season; they grow from new seeds each year. Perennials, such as Echinacea, Daisies, and Milkweed, are plants that establish root systems that survive over the winter; the plants typically die back at the end of the growing season, and will re-grow from the same root system the next year. When grown from seed, perennials typically take about 2 years to mature before they start flowering.
Erin planted a variety of wildflowers including our Northeast Wildflower Seed Mix, Black Eyed Susans, and annual Zinnias and Cosmos. The mix includes both annuals and perennials - so there would be color in the first season, and perennials to return and bloom in years to come. Mixing annuals into the mix gives the meadow even more color in the first year of growth.
By late July, the middle of summer, annuals have started to bloom! Cosmos, Cornflowers, and Baby's Breath are some of the colorful flowers you can see bringing the meadow to life. The wildflowers brightened up the yard - and the whole neighborhood! Erin's whole family enjoyed the beautiful blooms.
By the end of August, the annuals are still going strong. Tall Sunflowers have joined the show as well! The beautiful annual wildflowers would last all season until a hard frost. They kept plenty of bees, birds, butterflies, and lots of other flying friends happy in Erin's yard. She could look forward to the perennial wildflowers that would bloom the next year!
Meadowscaping Makes It Better
This meadow has added so much to Erin’s already beautiful property. Every day, her family can spend time together enjoying the ever-changing meadow, and watching the flowers progress from seedling to bud to blooms. Her community has enjoyed her meadow as well – neighbors who drive by and walk by can see the colorful flowers all season long. Instead of a lifeless lawn, Erin’s wildflower meadow invites bees, butterflies, birds, and more with plenty of nectar and seeds.
You Can Grow A Meadow, Too!
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More Helpful Tips From American Meadows
How To Prepare Your Site For Wildflowers
Our Complete Guide: How To Grow Wildflowers
Planting Wildflowers On A Slope