Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers’

Passing Pleasures: Grow Your Own Endorphins

It is my belief that, no matter how efficiently you want to manage your small space and make every square inch produce something, some of your land should be given over to something for each season that is so heart-stoppingly beautiful that you catch your breath when you see it. You can think of it as endorphin-farming if you like, and it’s an important part of what makes your gardening sustainable. The moments of joy that you experience can only do you good. For me, poppies will always be the ultimate late spring heart-stoppers, with their blend of drop-dead showiness and tissue-paper fragility. So I use a small swathe of my land for a wildflower circle where poppies are harmonized with other lovelies such as Siberian wallflower and blue flax. Don’t be afraid to throw bright colors together, because in this season it looks right. You need to decide by late winter where the wildflowers are going to go, and do some soil prep. They don’t need a lot of pampering, but to be lush and beautiful they do need some care and good soil. Plant very early, by March at the latest, water regularly, and keep the weeds out. Then, some morning in May, you will wander through your flowery meadow so filled with pleasure that you can hardly believe it, and at tedious meetings or in the dentist’s chair the image will still be there. Surely that’s worth a little sweat and compost.

Passing Pleasures: wildflower meadows, and notes on a weeding service

At my new place there is a large backyard, completely barren and given over to weeds by the former owner. When we moved in last winter I decided to concentrate my most intensive efforts on other areas, but eventaully I wanted an orchard of dwarf fruit trees in the back yard and didn’t want any grass there. The soil was terrible, and I decided to till the area shallowly and plant desert/upland wildflowers, which are accustomed to struggling for survival. I used the “California Brilliant” mix from Peaceful Valley. I didn’t do any soil improvement.

Naturally the weeds came up as well as the wildflowers, and the whole area had to be weeded over by hand in the spring to give the infant wildflowers a chance. There was too much area for me to do alone, and I can personally recommend the Albuquerque weeding service “U weed me?” Liz, who can be reached at, is an armed forces veteran and a dependable, reliable person who spent more time on her knees with me in my back yard than seems reasonable, and never complained.

The wildflowers started blooming in late April, and something new comes into bloom every week or two. That area of my yard is a constant pleasure, and I walk through it every morning just to see what’s blooming. It needs some water but not as much as a lawn, and between the flowers, the bees, and the hummingbirds, it’s at least three times as interesting as a lawn. Before you decide on wildflowers, take into account that bare spots do occur, that weeding is necessary, and that the flowers have to be allowed to go to seed if you want to keep the meadow going, which isn’t necessarily going to be an attractive process. But you’ll have a glorious springtime.

I scattered a little of the mix in a vegetable bed just for fun, and some lovely chance combinations are occurring, like the Califirnia poppy above making itself at home in my lettuce bed.