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California bluebells and red flax
One of spring’s many joys are the fields of wildflowers that we often see growing along the side of the road.  It is one of the many miracles of nature how such lovely flowers can grow in the wild without any help from people.
 
I find it kind of ironic that if we want to grow these flowers of the wild in our own garden we  have to give them a little assistance to get them going.  But, the preparation is fairly simple and the rewards are definitely well worth the effort.
 
Arroyo lupine with white gaura
 
As with many things in the garden, planting begins in advance, and in the case of wildflowers, fall is the best time to sow the seeds for spring bloom.
 
 
I’ve planted wildflower gardens throughout my career, but I’ll never forget my first one.  It was on a golf course and I sowed quite a bit of wildflower seed in that small area – and I mean a LOT of seed.  The wildflowers were growing so thickly together and probably would have looked nicer if I had used less seed and/or thinned them out a little once they started to grow.  But, I loved that little wildflower garden.
 
If you like wildflowers, how about setting aside some space in your garden to plant your own?
 
I have shared my tips on creating a wildflower garden in my latest article for Houzz.  I hope you enjoy it.
 
**Do you have a favorite wildflower?
 
 

 

What comes to mind when you think of wildflowers?  Maybe beautiful splashes of colorful flowers throughout the desert?  Well, how about growing them yourself instead of driving somewhere to view wildflowers in the spring?  Wildflowers are easy to grow and you have the added benefit of being able to view their beautiful blooms outside your window throughout the spring.  Butterflies and hummingbirds will be drawn to your wildflower garden as well.


Wildflower demonstration garden on a golf course
The wildflower garden above was planted by me about 9 years ago on a golf course.  It was one of three demonstration gardens that I designed.  My goal was to inspire people to grow wildflowers at home.  I planted Red Flax and Arroyo Lupine which are blooming in the photo above.  California Bluebells as well as California Poppies were also planted, but had not bloomed yet.  


Brittlebush is blooming in the background.  (I learned from this experience, that wildflowers should be thinned once they germinate, obviously I did not do that – one of many gardening mistakes that I have learned from over the years).


One of my favorite wildflower combinations are California Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia) along with California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica or mexicana) and Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata).  


I also like this combination – Arroyo Lupine (Lupinus succulentus) with California Poppies and Red Flax (Linum grandiflorum ‘Rubrum’).  The possibilities are absolutely endless….

Scarlet Flax

The ideal time to sow most types of wildflower seed is October through December, so it is time to plan your wildflower garden now.  The Desert Botanical Garden has excellent information on how to grow wildflowers which can be found at Desert Botanical Garden Growing Wildflowers.


*The source that I have used for wildflower seed is a small company called Wild Seed.  They can be reached at 602-276-3536.  They will mail you a catalog of the wildflower seed that they have available. 


 

Yesterday, I wrote about a visit to “The Farm at South Mountain”, which is an old farm that is a rural oasis in the shadow of downtown Phoenix.

The farm is made up of organic flower and vegetable gardens, restaurants, a large pecan grove picnic area, artist studio, gift shop, farmer’s market and spa.  Weddings are also held here in this beautiful place.
 
As lovely the pecan grove looks in the winter, I plan to return in the summer to see them fully leafed out, so I can enjoy a picnic lunch in their shade.
Sweet Columbine
Although the vegetable gardens were most prominent gardens to view, flowers could be found planted in mass, such as daisies and calendulas.  But, I delighted in finding the flowers that were tucked away in unexpected places.
 
Vibrant, Red Ranunculus
Although, I do like vegetables, I am a flower girl at heart and so, I had so much fun looking here and there making sure that I did not miss any flowers.   

 
 
Gerber Daisies grace the front of a collection of flowers.
Some flowers such as the Ranunculus and the Columbine, are not often seen in gardens in our area, and so I was happy to be able to take pictures of them to add to my photo library.
  
Spanish Lavender (Lavendula stoechas)
Do any of you have a flower or plant that you just love but for some unknown reason, you have not included it in your garden?  Well, I love lavender and do not have any in my garden.  Note to self…I need to plant some lavender ;^)
 
 Heliotrope, Gerber and Purple Daisies.

Like I said before, you never know where you will find flowers.  This laundry basket had a few cans full of flowers just sitting off to the side.
 
Bright, Sunny Calendula Flower.
Calendulas grew in organized mass plantings alongside the vegetables.
  

Fruity Girl (resident of “The Refuge”) peruses the flowers, herbs and succulents for sale.
 
Violas and Alyssum
 
 
Lupine  
 
Candytuft
Years ago, I grew Candytuft with Purple Coneflower.  I love the brightness of the white color of the Candytuft.
  
More Violas
 
Rows of Geraniums.
Geraniums perform very well in the desert, but generally do not survive the summer heat.  So, they are best treated as a winter-annual in the desert.
 
Valentine shrub with Geraniums.
 
Little Farmer, Pastor Farmer, Fruity Girl, Mr. Compost, Daisy Mom and Monkey Boy.
I enjoyed visiting this special place with my younger sister and her family (residents of “The Refuge”).  My mother, Pastor Farmer and nephew Little Farmer, (residents of Double S Farms) also came.
The Farm at South Mountain is a wonderful place to visit.  I can hardly wait to visit again in the summer with my husband and kids when they will have summer flowers for us to see :^)
Tomorrow, will be my last post about this special place….