Creating a Wildflower Garden
There's this weird spot in our backyard that's under our kitchen window. It's sort of been a “No Man's Land” kind of place; the ground was coarse and the soil was pretty dry, nothing was really growing there. Over time, it ended up being a makeshift dumping ground for the debris that came out of our basement when my Dad installed our sump pump.
This was one of those spaces that takes up what I call “mental project clutter” in that every time I would look at it, I would feel this level of “something MUST be done” but knew it would be an undertaking. Finally, the project clutter got the best of me and I decided to turn it into a wildflower garden.
Why wildflowers? I needed something that would be fairly low maintenance and could handle rocky terrain that received full day sunlight. Also, Steve isn't big on vegetables so creating a veggie garden there would rely heavily on me to cultivate and use the produce…and I'm just too lazy for that.
Before I show you the process let me preface this with: this was last year. I wanted to wait to show this project so that 1. I could actually ensure it was a success and 2. Show off the flowers.
Wildflower Garden Part 1: The Digging
This was the biggest undertaking of all (well, obviously). First I carried out all of the basement debris, then removed the first layer of soil which was essentially just rocks and clay anyhow. This took me about two weeks, mostly due to the fact that the dirt had to go into the trash cans, and I didn't want to weigh them down to ridiculous levels so I spaced out my workflow.
Wildflower Garden Part 2: Soil and Prep
My big fail at this part is that I didn't lay down any landscaping fabric, but whaddyagonnado. I got a few bags of all-purpose garden soil to create a nutrient-rich base. Normally, I wouldn't have to do this because the soil on our property is chocked full of nutrients, worms, and so forth. This area, however, didn't have a lot of depth to dig, especially close to the house where the foundation was, so steps had to be taken to get it to a level where something actually would want to grow.
I got some cheapo metal fencing to keep Jimmy away, as I knew he'd end up jumping all over the plants in his puppy way.
Wildflower Garden Part 3: The Plants
This was a mix of wildflower seed packets and clearance plants from Lowe's (my favorite spot in the world).
Wildflower Garden Part 4: Leave It Alone
I am notorious for over-loving plants (RIP all succulents that come my way) so this was a lesson in patience. I would do weed removal and watering, but mostly I just let it do its thing and trust that the plants could survive the crazy-dry summer and especially brutal winter this past year.
Wildflower Garden Part 5: Don't Leave It Alone
Spring came really really late this year (like, late May is when we finally saw consistent nice weather. Okay, that's a lie…it was mid-June. God, this is getting brutal!) so when it was clear that the plants were coming back, the hard part came: what the hell did I plant, again? You see, I knew weeds had come back with a vengeance, but being a novice gardener, it was hard to discern which plants were actually supposed to be there and which weren't (add to the fact that there weren't any blooms yet, just green bushy-type things). I also added a layer of mulch this year to help get the plants some more nutrients.
Wildflower Garden: Current
So, I'm considering this project a success, overall. I know the lavender is alive and thriving (two plants in the back) and those are my prized possessions. There are other giant plants happening, too, and the best part is it has very little to do with me. Low maintenance and no mental project clutter! Best part? I have no other plans for this (so many of my projects are “Part A”) except to just let it do its thing.