A Wildflower Garden In Your Backyard
There are few things in this world, horticultural or otherwise, that can compare with the simple beauty of a wildflower garden. Picture a gently sloping mountain meadow filled with the delicate blossoms of yellow Plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria), orange California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), and lacey baby’s breath (Gypsophila elegans). Butterflies dance across the meadow in front of you as you make your way through the tall grass to a small stream flowing somewhere up ahead. It’s like something out of a dream and with minimal effort on your part, it can become a reality. Keep reading to learn more about creating a wildflower garden in your backyard.
Creating Wildflower Gardens
In contrast to the formal English garden or even a traditional vegetable garden, a wildflower garden is truly inexpensive, easy to plant, and simple to maintain. You don’t have to spend endless hours weeding your wildflower garden because wildflower gardens are meant to be…well…wild!
You also don’t need to spend hours watering or fertilizing your wildflower garden because the plants you will choose for your garden will be native species to your particular region of the world. This means that they’re most likely already in love with the soil that is natural to your garden, and they don’t expect to get much more rain than you would get on average each year. Although for most of the wildflowers in your garden, extra water and fertilizer won’t hurt the plants; in most cases, it will keep them blooming longer.
How to Start a Wildflower Garden in Your Backyard
In order to get started with your wildflower garden, the most straightforward option is to buy a large bag of native mixed wildflower seed to spread in your bed or meadow. Simply loosen the soil with a hoe or shovel and remove most of the weeds and grass from the planting site. Spread your seed over the prepared area and rake it in gently. Of course, you will want to follow any other directions on your seed package. Then, water in the seed well, leaving the sprinkler on for 30 minutes should do the trick.
Continue watering the seeded area morning and night to ensure that it doesn’t dry out completely. Be sure to use a gentle sprinkler with a fine shower so that your precious wildflower seeds don’t get jostled around while they’re trying to sprout. Once the seeds sprout and your wildflower “toddlers” are on their way to being 3 or 4 inches (8-10 cm.) tall, you may choose to water them only if they become very dry and look wilted.
Seriously though, don’t worry about weeds. Wildflowers are tough; they’re meant to do battle with nature’s harshest enemies. Plus, weeds such as grasses and other native species help bring fullness to your wildflower meadow. Of course, if the weeds are offensive to you or threaten to overtake the flowers, a light weeding really can’t do any harm.
In addition to native wildflowers like purple lupine and white yarrow, you may want to consider other native species for your backyard too. Ferns, shrubs, berry plants (like chokecherry), and other natives would look absolutely divine gracing a different area of your yard. Native ferns planted in the shade of a large group of birch trees would do well, or perhaps a new planting of wild ginger around your evergreen trees is more appropriate to your location. The bounty of native wildflowers and plants is practically endless.
Now, just lay back in your wildflower meadow, close your eyes, and relax. Imagine yourself enjoying this wildflower garden for years to come. Oh, didn’t I mention? Most wildflowers freely re-seed themselves year after year so you don’t have to! Just a smidgen of watering and weeding each year, if absolutely necessary, is all your wildflower masterpiece will ever need.
How to Turn Part of a Yard into a Wildflower Garden
Wildflowers are low-maintenance plants that create a colorful garden. The best wildflower varieties are those that are native to your area and climate. Those plants usually grow well without fertilization and with only basic watering and general care. Wildflowers often naturalize in a garden bed so even annual varieties can self-sow and return year after year. Creating a wildflower garden in spring provides a place for summer blooms.
Choose wildflower varieties that require similar sunlight, water and nutrient levels. Select a garden site that receives the amount of sunlight necessary for the wildflower varieties. Most wildflowers require at least six hours of daily sunlight. Ensure the site is well-drained and has moderate soil quality. Wildflowers tolerate most soil conditions.
Remove the sod from the planting location. Pull out all weeds, and remove all plant debris. Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the garden bed, and incorporate it into the top 8 inches of soil. Compost improves drainage and soil quality. Smooth the surface of the prepared bed with a rake.
Plan the planting design. Plan to place plants that grow tall near the rear of the garden bed and lower-growing varieties near the front. If the bed is viewable from all sides, plan to place tall plants near the bed's center and shorter plants around the bed's edges.
Sow wildflower seeds directly in the bed, planting them at the depth and spacing listed on the seed packets. Alternatively, plant wildflower seedlings at the same depth they grew in their nursery pots, and space them at the distance listed on plants' labels.
Water the wildflowers once weekly if less than 1 inch of rain falls. Provide about 1 inch of water, or enough to maintain soil moisture to a 6 inch depth.
Pull weeds immediately so they don't establish in the wildflower bed. Cover the soil with a 2-inch layer of mulch to help prevent weed growth. Mulch also retains soil moisture and provides nutrients as it breaks down.
Cut off old flower heads after they finish blooming to encourage more flowering and to prevent self-seeding. Cut back the foliage after it dies back naturally at the end of the growing season.
22 Cool Wildflower Garden Backyard For You
If you opt to set the garden in your lawn, section off the area with some kind of border material. Arranging a flower garden is crucial as you wish to make sure the colours of plants you pick will accentuate your house. Another way to create your garden colorful is by adding many forms of petunias in a large number of forms. Xeriscape gardens utilize local native plants which do not require irrigation or extensive use of different resources while still providing the advantages of a garden atmosphere.
Begin by brainstorming what you’d like out of your garden. Gardens also donate to climate change. Many people think that developing a garden in the backyard is a pricey affair. A habitat garden is really a special means to delight in the beauty of nature, and to help the surroundings in turn. When contemplating the sort of layout you will use for your garden it’s likewise important to choose what kind of plants you will grow. Small gardens have much more potential than you understand. Growing an excellent vegetable garden involves juggling the demands of dozens of special crops.
There you will see the top rated flower choices and gardening strategies for 2016. There are several flower garden tips for backyard to apply. Even a wild look demands some planning and energy. However large or small your exterior areas may be you can locate a fantastic water feature ideal for the space. In the majority of instances it is not possible to add an excessive amount of organic matter during soil preparation. A standard issue in landscaping is developing a peaceful, private atmosphere.
When you replant, make sure it’s into some of its personal transplanted soil. Would that it were always that easy to discover which plants are able to make your dog sick! They will show visual cues if they are starved for a particular nutrient. There’s a great number of plants that will supply food and shelter to a wide selection of wildlife. Mimic nature and the ecosystem and you’re going to have the plants almost believing they continue to be in their native habitat. Water the entire region and keep the seeds moist until they’re a couple of inches tall. You may also plant vegetables in your garden if you want to raise and cook your own produce.
A simple kind of pond is made up of plastic lined barrel or tub. With the range of materials now on the marketplace, anyone may have a garden pond, no matter the size of the yard. A wildflower meadow stretches all of the way to the doors of the home. For instance, you may be planting wildflowers to entice butterflies or you merely need a stunning mixture of blooms, perhaps even a fragrant wildflowers mix. Pick the type of wildflower garden seed mix you need and you are prepared to get started planting your wildflowers.
Many shrubs will increase quickly–within a couple years–and function as a screen whilst providing habitat for many different birds. Can you help me identify what’s happening with the trees. No matter the motivation, flowers are a great add-on to all sorts of gardens. The number of flowers available can make selecting which ones that you will use in your garden an intimidating endeavor. When designing a flower garden, you need to begin by determining what flowers will increase well on your premises. Simple decoration can create a dramatic change on the whole appearance of your backyard.
Anyone can create a welcoming haven for local wildlife. Turning your yard, balcony container garden, schoolyard, work landscape, or roadside greenspace into a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is fun, easy, and can make a lasting difference for wildlife.
How You're Helping Wildlife
Rapid and large-scale changes to our lands and waters mean wildlife are losing the habitats they once knew. Every habitat garden is a step toward replenishing resources for wildlife such as bees, butterflies, birds, and amphibians—both locally and along migratory corridors. By adding pollinator-friendly and monarch-friendly plants when you certify, your garden also counts toward the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.
When you certify, your $20 application fee supports the National Wildlife Federation's programs to inspire others to make a difference and address the issues leading to declining habitat for wildlife nationwide. A portion of your fee also supports work for local wildlife in select affiliate partner states.
Certified Wildlife Habitat® applicants are asked to confirm they’ve provided the required number of elements for each of the following:
Places to Raise Young
Before applying, download the checklist to ensure you have met all the requirements for your wildlife garden.
Benefits to Certification
When you certify you will become a member of the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ community and receive the following benefits:
- Personalized certificate
- A one-year membership in the National Wildlife Federation and subscription to National Wildlife® magazine
- 10% off the National Wildlife Federation catalog merchandise, including nesting boxes, feeders, birdbaths, and other items to enhance your wildlife garden
- Subscription to monthly Garden for Wildlife e-newsletter with gardening tips, wildlife stories, and other resources
- Exclusive option to purchase attractive garden signs designating your garden as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® with the National Wildlife Federation
Get our NEW Certified Wildlife Habitat® sign!
Our redesigned Certified Wildlife Habitat® sign incorporates the National Wildlife Federation's new logo, featuring our ambassador Ranger Rick. Only those who have created a wildlife habitat garden and earned Certified Wildlife Habitat® status can post the sign.
There are two ways to receive your sign:
- Certify now and you'll have the option to purchase a sign.
- Already certified? Log in to purchase a sign.
How to Create A Native Wildflower Meadow
Taking on the task of creating a native wildflower meadow is a fun, simple, and sustainable way to not only enjoy the aesthetics that wildflowers offer, but also allows for one to enjoy the abundant wildlife species that are often drawn to these sort of habitats for things such as food and shelter. Hummingbirds and butterflies are known frequenters of these spaces, and can benefit substantially from the inclusion of such a habitat in one’s backyard.
National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program can offer a great template for individuals interested in incorporating a native wildflower meadow (or other naturally occurring environments) while helping to support local ecosystems and wildlife flourish in their natural state.
Here are some simple instructions on how to create a basic wildflower garden “meadow” in your very own garden.
- Choose a plot in your garden, yard or property—any size will do!
- Be thoughtful when deciding on an area of land/ground to transform into your wildflower meadow. It’s important to choose a space that is most suitable to sustain wildlife growth and development! For instance, wildflower meadows actually do quite well in nutrient poor soil, so consider taking this into account when selecting an area in which to begin your project.
- Clear the area of any debris lying around.
- Thoroughly rake the ground and make sure to disturb the soil.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of wildflower seeds on the ground. Note: Take time to research what species of wildflowers you are planting to ensure that they are native to the region/area you live and won’t pose any ecosystem hazard once introduced to the space you have designated as your wildflower meadow.
Become a Wildlife Gardener with National Wildlife Federation. It’s free and you’ll get great wildlife gardening tips and learn how to certify your garden as an official habitat.
Examples for the Pacific Northwest
In western-Washington State for instance, one might want to include:
Mimulus lewisii on Cascade Pass Trail. Flickr photo by Brew Brooks.
Globe gilia from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California. Flickr photo by Cliff Hutson.
White Fawn Lily in Sharpe Park, near Anacortes Washington. Flickr photo by meanderingwa.
Wild tiger lilies. Flickr photo by Blue Brightly.
Become a Wildlife Gardener
Want to learn more about turning your yard and garden into a haven for wildlife? Sign up to be a Wildlife Gardener with National Wildlife Federation. It’s a free community of gardeners, and we’ll send you regular tips on gardening.