This week, when we went up to the cabin, there was a fun surprise waiting for us: the wildflower meadow that we planted the previous spring had started to come up!
Last April, we cleared a bunch of volunteer trees and weeds from the left bank of our driveway, and planted it with native wildflower seeds.
We did this for several reasons:
1. To cut down on mowing. Planting the bank with wildflowers eliminated a quarter acre of mowing. Now we just mow it once towards the end of winter, and let the wildflowers grow the rest of the year.
2. To keep the electric company from spraying herbicides on our property. The power lines (that we haven’t connected to yet) run up the left side of the driveway, which gives the electric company the right to keep the area clear. Two summers back they switched from bush-hogging to spraying herbicides, and since we hadn’t cleaned up that bank yet, ours got sprayed. So much for maintaining organic land management practices! Cleaning up the bank and planting wildflowers is one part of my plan to prevent them from spraying again, I’ll tell you about the rest of my plan later in the post.
3. To provide wildlife habitat. We keep three acres of our property mowed for our own use, so we wanted to ensure we were leaving plenty of wild spaces for all the butterfiles, bees and other pollinators to enjoy. You wouldn’t believe all the butterflies on our property.
4. To beautify the property. I love the idea of arriving to a sea of wildflowers each time we visit our cabin, and being able to pick wildflower bouquets whenever I want. Perhaps we’ll even find ourselves picking wildflowers for our daughters’ weddings someday.
Alright, now that you know our reasons for planting a wildflower meadow, let me show you what it took to make it happen.
How to Plant a Wildflower Meadow
Before we did anything to prep the land, I ordered our seeds. Since we were planting a quarter acre, that meant buying wildflower seeds in bulk. I ended up ordering from Eden Brothers because they sell regional seed mixes and because they don’t add fillers. That means if you order a pound of seeds, you actually get a pound of seeds – not a pound of seeds and sand.
After looking at all the options, I chose a perennial seed mix that consisted of 15 types of wildflower seed. They sell annual mixes that bloom in as little as six weeks, but I was willing to wait a year for our flowers to bloom, if it meant I wouldn’t have to fuss with replanting year after year. I paid around $120 for our seeds.
Once our seeds arrived, we got busy preparing the driveway bank. That meant removing all the volunteer trees and then tilling the soil to uproot all the grass and weeds, so the seeds wouldn’t have a lot of competition.
The rear-tine tiller that we bought at a yard sale a while back made quick work of the job, and took care of a couple snake nests that we found along the way.
The instructions that came with the seeds recommended mixing the seeds with playground sand at a ratio of five parts sand to one part seed, so that’s what we did. It just makes it easier to distribute the seeds evenly, and allows you to see where you’ve seeded and where you haven’t.
Since I had three helpers, we just hand-cast our seeds. If I hadn’t had all that help, I probably would have used a seed spreader to speed things up.
When we were done, we walked over the seeds to press them into the soil. Then, we crossed our fingers that our flowers would come up next spring.
I didn’t know how long the herbicide that the electric company had sprayed would stay in the soil, so I was really happy to see our wildflowers coming up when we arrived earlier this week.
So far it’s mostly Lance-Leaf Coreopsis and Shasta Daisies, but I spotted a few Sweet William, too. I can’t wait to see what pops up next.
How We Plan to Keep the Electric Company From Spraying Again
Hopefully a well-maintained wildflower bed will be enough to keep the electric company from feeling like they need to spray again, but just in case that isn’t enough, I got our property certified as a National Wildlife Federation Habitat. This cost me $40 after coupon, and includes a very official-looking sign to post. Since it’s such a big area, I ordered a second sign for $24.
Tip: Sign up for their email newsletter to receive promo codes. I got $10 off my certification.
I also cashed in some of my Amazon credits for two signs that say, “Do Not Spray. Pesticide Free Zone.”
We plan to mount the signs on 4×4 posts the next time we go up.
I’m hoping it’ll look official enough to make workers worry that they’ll get in trouble with their boss, if they spray our property. Time will tell.