New 50' x 50' wildflower garden help

j0nd03February 20, 2012

We live in a new construction on an old farmstead. There were a few small hills that were bulldozed over removing all topsoil in the process. I left one bare spot alone last year and it grew a few coneflowers that had seeded in naturally but not much grass. This year, I would like to make it a wildflower garden that would pretty much be throw some seed around and water during drought. Is this feasible or do I need to bring in some topsoil first and/or fertilize the area. On a whim, I bought two $10 bags of seed at Home Depot today that had various wildflower seeds inside that would cover 1200 sq feet each. It does not have to be incredibly dense, but I don't want too many sizable gaps.

It is pretty much full sun probably around 10-12 hrs/day in the peak of summer.

I am open to any and all advice.


By jp_42_82 at 2012-02-20

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John, if you find out what is native in your area that is the best way to go. Those mixes(from Home Depot) are tantalizing but if you read what's in them there's alot of stuff that is just pretty flowers but non-native. One of the awesome things about natives is you don't have to haul in topsoil or fertilize, they grow in decent dirt and should'nt need supplemental watering if planted during spring or fall. If that is a septic field where you want to plant there are native mixes that won't interfere with the septic. In fact my favorite planting is a septic field mix that has baby bluestem,monarda punctata,hoary vervain and a bunch of other forbs that apparently don't have real deep root systems. It's real pretty and growing on crappy sandy, rocky soil. I would kill all that is there now, and keep killing through-out each season's weeds.Then put down your mix. Maybe you can rescue the coneflowers first before you kill. My property is old farmstead also and there were tons of weeds waiting to rock that had to be exterminated. I have vast areas that are solid thistle that will be my focus this spring,it won't be pretty... good luck and be patient, it's hard work but worth it.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 11:01AM
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Thanks for the advice Rose. This is not my septic area but a warm up for when I do plant the septic area which is much larger than this!

The seed at Home Depot was labeled "Native North American Perennials" and 'Native North American Annuals". I plan to look up the species listed on the back before spreading the seed.

I am thinking about tilling the area and adding a little topsoil then scattering the seed. If I don't have much success, it is still a learning experience and will give me time to eliminate the weeds I see that do not flower.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 2:49PM
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The traditional message is that you need to plant a mixture of native grasses and forbs, and you need to have gotten rid of all the stuff (weeds) that was living there before. Because the stuff that was there before already has out-competed its rivals and it will out-compete your little seeds. Now, I'm not sure what this means for your spot, if there really wasn't anything growing there recently -- but if there was stuff there, it will probably overwhelm or at least hinder the growth of what you plant. In addition, planting perennials is tricky because many of them won't germinate for a year -- they need a period of cold stratification, exposure to temperatures below 40 degrees, to trigger germination -- depends on what's in your bag of seeds. So you likely won't get much out of them, if anything, this year, and the weeds will have all the greater a head start.

Take a look at similar posts below for suggestions.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 6:25PM
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