• Do you dream of a natural and beautiful wildflower meadow?

    by  • November 9, 2010 • Meadow project • 11 Comments

    How to plant a meadow in California foothills

    I do dream of that!  In late summer, my new project was to find California native seeds in a large enough quantity at an affordable price, get rid of the weeds and get my meadow.  A couple posts back are photos and a description of the beginnings.

    S&S Seed mixes

    S&S Seed mixes, 1 lb of flowering meadow mix & 1 lb of native California wildflowers

    Today, I lightly raked the remnants of the sprayed dead filaree sprouts (I’m afraid at the expense of my healing back injury) and sowed the seed.

    Dead filaree sprouts

    Dead filaree sprouts

    Here is what I did:

    • Made sure most all the weed sprouts were dead and gone.
    • Raked the area lightly across the slope.
    • Sprinkled the pure seed by hand on a windless morning.
    • Sprinkled half one direction and half the other across the area.
    • Stepped on the seed as I went and again after watering lightly.
    Test ponypaks of seeds

    Test ponypaks of seeds

    Since no rain is expected, I will lightly water my future meadow each day for a week or so.  Also, seeds were planted in two ponypaks so to easily identify the seedlings.

    As I stepped on every square inch of ground, to achieve good soil contact for the seed, I was thinking of a garden sign I found once,

    “Who plants a seed, beneath the sod, and waits to see, believes in God.”

    Now my personal God, I will leave out of the picture, but I do consider God and Nature one. I must have faith that this will work, and will post here the progress.

    Newly planted meadow

    Newly planted meadow, an area about 30′ x30′

    Next day note: Contrary to the weather report, it has rained overnight, an ideal situation!

    —I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.  FL Wright—

    A word about S&S seeds
    I ordered the seed by phone on a Monday and received it on Thursday.  Not bad service. I had bought and planted Western wildflower seed mix from wildseedfarms.com, 4 and 5 years before, but this time I especially wanted native California seed and S&S Seeds had the most reasonable bulk price.

     California Native Wildflower Mix   $30. per pound includes: 

    • Achillea millefolium (White Yarrow)
    • Clarkia amoena semi-dwarf (Farewell-to-Spring)
    • Collinsia heterophylla (Chinese Houses)
    • Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy)
    • Gilia capitata (Globe Gilia)
    • Gilia tricolor (Bird’s Eye)
    • Layia platyglossa (Tidy Tips)
    • Linum lewisi (Blue Flax)
    • Lupinus densiflorus Ed Gedling (Golden Lupine)
    • Lupinus succulentus (Arroyo Lupine)
    • Mimulus aurantiacus punieceus (Mission Red Monkeyflower)
    • Nemophila maculate (Five Spot)
    • Nemophila menziesii (Baby Blue Eyes)
    • Phacelia campanularia (California Bluebells)

    California Flowering Meadow Mix  $42. per pound includes:

    • Achillea millefolium (White Yarrow)
    • Chrysanthemum leucanthemum Ox-Eye (Ox-eye Daisy)
    • Clarkia amoena (Farewell to Spring)
    • Coreopsis lanceolata (Lance-leaf Coreopsis)
    • Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy)
    • Hordeum californicum (California Barley)
    • Layia platyglossa (Tidytips)
    • Linum lewisi (Blue Flax)
    • Lupinus bicolor (Miniature Lupine)
    • Lupinus succulentus (Arroyo Lupine)
    • Melica californica (California Melic)
    • Nassella pulchra (Purple Needlegrass)
    • Vulpia microstachys (Small Fescue)

    S&S Seeds, Inc. Seed Store
    Carpinteria, CA

    UPDATE: S&S has raised its prices to $48.00 and $54.00 per pound and require a $250. minimum which I begged them to waive, in Fall 2014, and they did.

    How to sow wildflower seeds article by Judith Larner
    Wildflower FAQ by Wildseed Farms

    To find native seeds and plants in your state see the
    North American Native Plant Society  Home

    ***

    The California Native Meadow project, month by month


    What am I really doing in the garden in October?  Planning and removing weeds
    Do you dream of a natural and beautiful wildflower meadow?  Finding and sowing seeding
    Let’s check for progress on the meadow!  Weeding and watching the weather
    How to weed a meadow in the Sierra Foothills  More weeding…letting the sprouts thrive
    Let’s check on Fall and Winter projects!  Identifying seedlings
    The wildflower meadow in May   Small triumphs
    My California native meadow in June  Starting to bloom
    The midsummer meadow  The peak bloom
    Stomping down the Autumn meadow  Neatening up
    Native California meadow in the second year

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    11 Responses to Do you dream of a natural and beautiful wildflower meadow?

    1. November 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm

      Unfortunately, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (Ox-Eye Daisy) is not native and is in fact a rather invasive alien from Europe. I can’t imagine what S & S seeds is thinking by including it in their “native” mix.

      I think the native seed mix I bought at a nursery last year must have come (indirectly) from S & S seeds, because I got a bunch of ox-eye daisies from it and was not very happy when I figured out what they were.

    2. November 9, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      Gayle, I noticed that Ox-eye is included in the meadow mix and yes, it is not native. However it is not invasive in my area, so I will welcome it. It does have a very meadowy look, but will watch it carefully.

      One reason I didn’t want to continue with Wildseedfarms.com is that after a couple years the flowers that continued to come up were mostly all the Black eyed Susans. They are pretty dominant in my area.
      Have Ox-eyes been invasive in your area?

    3. November 10, 2010 at 10:32 am

      I can’t wait to see how your meadow turns out, it will be fun to compare notes. With our recent rains, we’re getting ready to plant our wildflower seeds here that I’ve been hoarding all year. We opted instead to acquire our seed types individually, choosing only those flowers native to this region, and will blend the mix ourselves. For smaller varieties of some native seed, if you don’t want to have to buy a pound of each from S&S, Larner Seeds in Bolinas has some nice choices too. We’ve purchased from both, but I tend to avoid the mixes as half the seeds are usually not to suited to our region. As we’re trying to cover a third of an acre, I’ll have a lot of raking, and stomping to do this week. Hopefully the birds won’t eat all of our seed over winter!

      • November 10, 2010 at 11:13 am

        Hi Clare, I just read your excellent post Selecting Native Wildflowers. How long ago was that and did you get good results? I do love Judith Larner’s inspiring book ‘Gardening with a Wild Heart’ and have considered, too, whether I am a native purist or not. I have decided to stick to California natives and some Mediterranean plants and keep as natural a look as possible to our already beautiful area. I’ve been having fun, too, compiling a list of native plants found here when I came. I have learned A LOT!

        I collect the seed from the wildflowers I planted from Wildseed farms and replant. Some grow from those and the Rudbeckia choke out a lot, but I haven’t planted any new seed for four years and am excited about this batch. I was thinking of those hungry birds as I sowed.

        As Gayle pointed out, I have already planted the mix containing Ox-eye daisy which is not native to California. Oh, well….like I said..I’m not that much of a purist.
        My sister’s husband grew up on the Isle of Wight…I noticed you said you lived near there at one time??

        How did you come to find your property, how many acres is it and how much do you set aside for gardening, I wonder. We had 7 acres and most is natural, however unkempt. It’s a process.
        We had a gentle rain last night. Nice!

    4. November 10, 2010 at 11:51 am

      I grew up in Surrey, England, years ago. The Isle of Wight was certainly doable in a day trip, and I love it out there.

      I wrote the Selecting Native Wildflowers post back in September of this year while I was fervently seed-shopping. That of course was before MORE seed shopping, and numerous native plant sales this fall! 😉 Our meadow, like yours, won’t come to fruition until this next spring, fingers crossed!

      It took us two years to find this property. Large swathes of land in Santa Cruz aren’t easy to come by. Either they’re steeply wooded, on a flood plain, or if they’re flat…already in use as commercial farm land. We have seven and half acres here, running the gamut from flat to sheer cliffs. The ‘cultivated’ area is probably just over an acre, as we’re leaving the vast majority of the property just as we found it…wild and unkempt, except for removing invasive non-native species, and encouraging the endemic natives to fill in. It’s a process, and I know it will never be finished, but I enjoy a challenge!

      • November 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm

        Very interesting, Clare. We have almost the same size property and similar aims, excepting I don’t have the commercial business like you. Most of our place is on a 15% grade and we borrow the view seen on my blog page. That’s what sold us on this lot.
        Good luck to us and our meadows…we’ll have to compare notes this Spring!

    5. November 10, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      The invasive plant council has a page about it here:

      http://www.cal-ipc.org/ip/management/plant_profiles/Leucanthemum_vulgare.php

      It’s supposed to be invasive in the Sierra Nevadas and along the coast. Not so much in the valley, where I am, but I wasn’t comfortable taking the risk, so I pulled mine.

    6. Bruce Berlin
      November 15, 2010 at 9:02 am

      I think you will see that the Ox Eye daisy is not in S&S SEEDS “Native” wildflower mix- just in their Flowering meadow mix. In my experience with S&S SEEDS- they are very sensible about what is native and what is non-native. They sell both native and non-native- but they are better known for their experience with hand -collecting and producing Native California seeds. Still- to be sure- any consumer should always check on the ingredients of species- to verify they are getting what they want.

    7. November 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks, Bruce, you’re right, and I believe I did get what I wanted and I’m excited to see what spring will bring!

    8. Pingback: Working quietly along with quail | Sierra Foothill Garden

    9. December 8, 2016 at 8:11 am

      I really like the idea of planting wildflowers in your yard. I have so many weeds in my yard right now and I want to replace them with something, and so I think I am going to go out and do this. I have had great success at growing flowers in my yard in the past, and so I am not really worried about the fertility of my ground either.

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