Our friends at American Meadows wrote this guest post for us about how to make a great garden with your little ones. Grab one of our floral print reversible hoodies to enjoy your hard work on cool summer mornings!
We love the month of May at American Meadows! Our favorite week of the whole year is National Wildflower Week (which this year culminated with Mother’s Day) and we take it as a great excuse to start a wildflower garden with our kids. Wildflowers are an easy choice for a kid’s first garden, and here’s why:
- They let kids focus on fun and easy garden chores – scattering seeds and watering plants
- They come up quick and bring cheerful, season-long color
- They attract lots of exciting winged friends, including butterflies, hummingbirds, and fireflies
- They can be successful almost anywhere – from sprawling rural lawns, to tiny urban yards, to containers grouped on the patio
- Planting seeds is a smart and affordable choice, at least until you’re sure that your family has officially caught the ‘gardening bug’
Although wildflowers can thrive in many conditions, it’s a good idea to choose varieties that are the best match for your circumstances. First, you’ll want to be sure that you’re selecting individual varieties (or a mix) that are suited to your region. A great place to start is by understanding which garden zone you live in, and shopping for seeds that will flourish there. (Find your “Hardiness Zone” by checking out our map of the United States.)
Next, you’ll want to think about the space that you’re planning on planting – is it in the shade? Does it get full sun? While this seems like a pretty simple deduction, remember to consider how this space looks during the height of summer, when all of the trees have filled out and shadows from buildings seem to reach farther. Once you’ve made note of your available light, you can shop for plants that will do well in sun, shade, or even a bit of both.
Lastly, you’ll need to understand the difference between an annual and a perennial.
- Annual plants are those that bloom and finish out their life cycle all within one season. Normally, you’ll need to plant these from seed all over again, should you want to see them bloom the following season.
- Self-seeding (or self-sowing) annuals are a group of annual plants that drop their seeds all over the soil before fading, creating next year’s planting bed for you. No need to re-seed!
- Perennials are plants that flower every year, except for their very first. You won’t see their blooms until year two, but then they’ll be with you for the long haul! Their foliage will die-back or become woody throughout the colder months, until new green growth emerges in the spring. Many plants that are known as perennials in warmer gardening zones are treated as annuals in cooler, northern areas.
Planting a wildflower garden in 3 Easy steps:
- Prepare the soil by removing any sod and raking out the dirt.
- Scatter your seeds and press them firmly into the soil.
- Water and keep evenly moist until your plants are 4 to 6 inches tall.
For more detailed advice, view American Meadows wildflower planting instructions here.
If you choose a mix that includes annuals, self-seeding annuals, and perennials blended together, your family-planted wildflower garden will thrill your kids for years to come. You pollinator-friendly meadow (or patio) will be a fun May project gift that keeps on giving!
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