• Planting wildflower ‘muffins’

    by  • April 15, 2011 • Garden, How to, Spring • 4 Comments

    Wildflower seedlings sown January 1st

    The seedlings were ready to be planted.  They were sown last January first, from the same CA native wildflower seed mix from S&S Seeds purchased last Fall and sown for the meadow project.

    An old serving fork eases the muffin out

    The blocks were a bit dry after a week of no rain and the seed tray was deep enough that a fork worked well to lift or pry each block out.

    Deer grass in the background of this newly weeded natural field or meadow

    The area to be planted is in a field, which I call ‘The Meadow’. Not the new meadow project which is to the south of the house, but straight off the back of the house, two levels down beyond the Patio Garden and the Salvia Garden. This meadow has only been weeded, removing filaree whenever it’s seen and planted with three Deer Grasses, Muhlenbergia rigens. There are some natives, Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon crassifolium and thousands of Pretty Face (or Golden Stars), Triteleias ixioides and Elegant Brodiaea, Brodiaea elegans sprouts ready to bloom in the next few weeks. These sprouts can be seen in these photos as slender straps about 6 inches tall.

    Each block was planted with a small basin uphill and a watering ring on the downhill side to catch water

     The planting area for the seedlings is in morning shade of a small oak, a remnant of one that was  removed for our 70 foot long septic leach lines, which are on the uphill and downhill sides of the meadow. 

    Each seed block is held together, seemingly, with healthy roots

    Once the block was placed the soil surrounding it was pushed down around it. Dirt from the hole was used for the watering ring

    Once the block was placed, the soil surrounding it was flaked and pushed down around it. Dirt from the hole was used for the watering ring

    The seeds were sown in native soil mixed half and half with potting soil. Each planting hole is dug, as close in size as the block, so as not to disturb too much soil. Then, the soil is pushed from around the sides, the dirt from the hole filling in and being used for the tin watering ring.  A small indentation is dug on the uphill side to catch water.

    The roots are looking good! Dont they look like muffins? Yum!

     Each block contained Lupine, Poppy, Baby Blue Eyes and Five Spot, I noticed. The whole list of what was sown is here.

    Spacing is done with the length of the trowel

    Spacing is done with the length of the trowel

    Each block was placed about 10 inches apart and hopefully next year will reseed. As the blocks are planted, I notice masses of tiny feverfew seedlings which I scrape off the surface of the soil with the edge of the trowel.  I don’t mind feverfew some places, but not here.

    Each is watered with a lot of water, even though rain is predicted

    Each is watered with a lot of water, even though rain is predicted

     Each is soaked with water. I feel happy about planting right before the rain.

    Scraggley Yerba Santa in the foreground as the last seedling block is planted. The area behind me is the Sierra Nat;l Forest boundary.

    Scraggley Yerba Santa in the foreground. The last seedling block is planted. The thick green area behind me is the Sierra National Forest boundary.

     The last muffin is dug out from the tray. These Yerba Buena in the field are cut down by half in Fall and so will grow bushier.  They have pretty lavender flowers in May, but can look ratty the rest of the year unless trimmed.

    The next day, snow blankets the seedling blocks, but are fine once it melts.

    The next day, instead of rain, snow blankets the seedling blocks, but are fine once it melts.

    I checked, they’re fine, amazingly, being young native Californians, but many of the other wintersown seedlings sown the same day were damaged during the last frost. Like always, we’ll see, and you along with me!

    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.

    4 Responses to Planting wildflower ‘muffins’

    1. April 16, 2011 at 6:29 am

      wonderful post…I loved the use of the fork..

    2. April 17, 2011 at 12:04 am

      Sue, I totally love what you’re doing with this meadow project. Your native plant selections are fantastic and I can’t wait to see this area once your seedlings become established. I wish I could do the same without having to surround all my new plantings with chicken wire (not aesthetically pleasing), but alas the bunnies in my area are especially abundant and voracious.

    3. April 18, 2011 at 11:14 am

      Thanks, Donna, I hadn’t know how these wildflowers would do transplanted but even the lupines seem to be adjusting to their new homes.

      Arleen, do the rabbits eat wildflowers too? You have a lot of plants that are wild, that I’d love to have, too. We have seen a few rabbits but the coyotes probably keep the population down. I could send you a coyote and one to Kerry in NZ. He has a rabbit fence completely around his place, ‘A Field of Gold’.

    4. April 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Marvellous idea, your ‘wildflower muffins’ – I can’t wait to see how they develop in your meadow garden!

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