Field of Flowers


I may have mentioned this idea before, but just go with me, all right?

I periodically “despair” when I wander through the pecan plantation, the acre of open land below the dam. I have planted fifty pecan trees down there, and replanted about that many over the years. Only a handful, maybe ten, are what I would consider successful. Pecans are slow growing trees, but many of mine, excluding the ones that have simply died outright, seem to think they should start over completely each year. They die off to the ground each winter and send up fresh leaves at their base in the spring.

There are the other ten, of course, some of which are now nearly four feet tall and branching nicely. They are scattered where the soil is good and/or the water is reliable. But my fantasy of having a cathedral stand of towering pecans to stroll under doesn’t look likely.

So I have this other idea for the plantation. I’m thinking of trying to make it a wildflower meadow. We see the most wildflowers down in this open acre, but they are generally just single specimens, not a multi-colored blanket of flowers that dazzle they eyes.

I blame this idea on my recent trip to Eugene, Oregon and especially the campus of the University of Oregon. The flower beds there are done in wildflowers. They are colorful, diverse displays.

Of course, I don’t have the budget of the University of Oregon. Or the staff. Or the rainfall. Or even the soil. But I’ve begin looking into wildflower seeds; unfortunately, these things don’t come cheap. A pound of Missouri wildflower seeds would cost me anywhere from $75 to $90, and one site I visited online suggested that seeding is best done with eight to nine pounds per acre. I’m not strong in math, but I can do that much cipherin’. I suppose most of the cost is in the collection process. Done by hand by real people in field conditions and all that.

Compounding the problem is that the ground is not properly prepared, at least according to the seeding instructions I have read. The various grasses there (that have done well in all but the rockiest areas) have spread a thick carpeting across the ground. This is supposed to be mown and raked away or burn to the ground before seeding. Otherwise the seeds I would sow would simply rest on the fallen grasses and never germinate.

I’ve thought about getting potted wildflower plants and plugging them in the ground here and there, but there are comparably expensive, and because of my infrequent visits, I can’t guarantee that they’ll get watered sufficiently to get established.

My attempt at seeding Libby’s Island with wildflowers has not yet proven to be a success. It may still be a bit early to expect the many seeds we scattered there to make a showing yet, of course, but the soil there is better than in the pecan plantation.

I suppose I should try to collect seeds myself. This will take a little research and a lot of effort, but maybe in small steps I can get myself to where I want to be.

Missouri calendar:

7 Responses to “Field of Flowers”

  1. karl Says:

    below the dam you could use a siphon drip irrigation system. the suction side should be screened and placed not too far below the surface as to overt a break down stream draining the lake.

  2. Ed Abbey Says:

    I helped restore a ten acre corner of my parents farm into native prarie and wildflowers. For a year I would stop along side the road where I saw native wildflowers grow and with my knife, lop off the flowers into a paper bag to dry out. Then I would seem them at the appropriate spot whenever I passed by. My parents did the same from their end. Probably a dozen years have passed and we have a pretty nice plot of wildflowers mixed in with an excellent stand of big blue stem. Still I’m sure it is a long ways from what you saw in Oregon.

  3. Gary Says:

    You could start small and properly prepare large beds scattered about. Once you have a good stand working they will spread.

    Wildseed Farms here in Texas has some good mixes for the entire country along with individual species packets. They have a great “story” behind the company. Also, their catalog makes a pretty good identification book because it has pictures of the seedlings as well as the blooms.

  4. FC Says:

    Everything they said and …
    I too collected roadside seeds to spread here and it’s not work really, it’s fun to go riding scouting out possible sources of seeds.
    Could be an off topic, but actually on topic post for you :)
    I had great luck with lyre leaf sage and gaillardia collection at the beach and 20 years later their descendents grow here at PF.

    Phlox … I want phlox. It blankets the roadsides here, but not MY roadside.

  5. robin andrea Says:

    What everybody has already said. Start your own collection and see what happens. I admred a neighbor’s Rose Campion, so he clipped a few at the end of their season for me, and now I’ve got a nice start in our front yard. Think big, start small.

  6. Rurality Says:

    Start several small plots… treat them differently… see which one wins. Document procedure for the blog, of course!

  7. edifice rex Says:

    I’m in the same predicament and looking for the same results as you Pablo just on a slightly smaller scale. I tried purchasing and sowing a couple of pounds of wildflower seeds this past year and then , of course, this drought hits so that has not worked real well. I’ll try the suggestions here although the most I ever see around here is Queen Anne’s lace, which is pretty, but I would like something else to go with it!

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