Wildflower garden design for birds, hummingbirds, and butterflies

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Fill It with Wildflowers - Planting colorful bloomers is a surefire way to make your yard feel more welcoming. Use bold, bright hues to create a big impact even if you don't have a lot of space.

Dress Up Your Walkway - Transform your front walk into a stylish statement by edging it in easy-care plants such as variegated hosta and boxwood. Conjure even more magic by putting a gentle curve in the path; it will offer your walkway with a soft, gentle look. Choose an interesting material to make the trip to your front door even more memorable. Bricks, flagstone, and pavers all lend more charm than traditional cement.

Beautify a Slope - Grassy slopes can be hard to maintain, so turn your front-yard hillside into a beautiful display and keep it easy to care for by covering the slope with your favorite plants. The plantings rising up to the house make a home appear grander. Mix groundcovers, grasses, evergreens, annuals, and perennials to create a planting that looks good all year.

When designing your own wildflower garden, the objective is to evoke an impression of at least one of three main types of natural wildflower gardens: woodland, meadow, or prairie. To achieve this, try to use plants that are native to your state or local area. You will also need to choose the location with which to place your wildflower garden.

Depending on the type of garden you choose, almost any spot is ideal for growing wildflowers. Create a lovely meadow or prairie in an open field. Use an existing woodline as a backdrop for a natural woodland. Perhaps your ideal location is too small to accommodate all of your favorite wildflowers. If this is the case, you may want to consider trying a container wildflower garden.

Woodland wildflower gardens are mostly composed of flowering plants, grasses, shrubs, and trees. Woodland wildflowers, such as the crested iris and creeping phlox, usually grow and bloom in early spring; while other late-blooming plants like asters and goldenrods provide abundant foliage early in the year.

When designing a woodland garden, include layers of plants as they would be found in their natural setting. Woodland plants like moist, humus-rich soil that is usually found in shady areas. These develop sturdy, evergreen leaves in order to survive the continuous shade. The native wildflowers become accustomed to and adapt well to the low-light levels year-round.

You can easily create a woodland wildflower garden by planting smaller trees, shrubs, hostas, native ferns, and wildflowers such as mountain anemone; bleeding heart; wild ginger; and hepatica underneath a large shade tree in your yard.

In a meadow garden, wildflowers bloom sporadically throughout the season filling them with brilliant colors and astounding fragrances. Native meadow wildflowers produce flowers mainly during the summer and fall seasons. Most meadows contain both grasses and wildflowers. Generally, meadow wildflowers can survive in thin and poor soil. Commonly found wildflowers may include the following: black-eyed Susans, butterfly weed, lilies, asters, coneflowers, liatris, flowers, and joe-pye weed.

When planting a meadow wildflower garden, you will need to decide how closely you want to imitate nature by studying the surrounding natural meadows in your area. The meadow wildflower garden is reasonably easy to care for once established. Giving your wildflower garden an annual mowing to keep woody plants at bay should suffice.

wildflower garden designPrairie wildflower gardens tend to mix vivid flower colors with the overwhelming greens and golds of native prairie grasses. Throughout the growing season wildflowers will bloom and add beauty to this low, cushion-like environment while the numerous grasses provide an abundance of foliage. Prairie plants need deep, loamy soil.

You can convert a treeless area of into a prairie by planting an array of grasses such as prairie dropseed, switch grass, or Indian grass along with wildflowers that may include prairie clover; goldenrod; bluebells; butterfly weed; and prairie onion. Keeping this area clear of woody growth is essential in order for these prairie grasses and wildflowers to thrive.

Another easy way to grow wildflowers is in containers. A major factor to consider when growing wildflowers by this method is good drainage. You will also want to bear in mind that choosing pots that are porous, such as those made of clay, will require frequent watering. Some good choices for growing are sweet alyssum, baby’s breath, coreopsis, poppies, purple coneflowers, and black-eyed Susan’s.

Wildflowers can also adapt easily to rock garden environments. These can be created for sun or partial and for dry or moist conditions. Prairie phlox, blue-eyed grass, bottle gentian, and wild columbine are just some of the many varieties that work well with rock wildflower gardens.

Wildflowers spread naturally and are normally more trouble-free and easier to maintain than other garden flowers. They are self-sufficient and can basically get by on their own. Wildflower gardens are also usually less expensive and generally easier to prepare. All that is required is the removal of non-essential, existing growth.

To succeed with wildflower gardening, you should learn about the native environments of plants you want to grow as well as those indigenous to your local area. Avoid any aggressive wildflowers with which will overtake your garden.

Before starting your wildflower garden, you should take into account the native plants with which may already be located on your property. The availability of light is also important. This can determine the difference between a meadow and prairie garden verses a woodland garden.

Different plants require or tolerate different degrees of shade or light. When creating designs with wildflowers, be sure to use plants that bloom at various intervals. This will create a longer flowering season.

Mix a number of different heights, shapes, and textures to give your wildflower garden depth. Include plants with attractive and colorful foliage, such as ferns and ornamental grasses, to keep your wildflower garden looking charming during particular times of the year when there may not be a great deal of flowers in bloom.

Planting wildflower seeds - Begin sowing seeds for wild flower gardening in early spring for northern regions of the United States. Southern and western states may call for fall planting to better ensure successful wild flower gardening.

Rather than a "patch", grow wildflowers in a larger "stand" for best visual effect. Clear all existing vegetation where you want to begin your wild flower gardening, then rake or till the soil to a shallow depth, usually no more than an inch.

One of the wonderful things about wildflowers is the ease of planting the seed. No lining up rows or deep digging, the best way to plant wildflowers is to broadcast the seed. Depending on your soil composition, mix wildflower seeds with sand, perlite, or potting soil at one part seed to four parts other material. Because many wildflower seeds are tiny, this helps you evenly distribute the seed and keeps the wind from catching your seeds before they hit ground.

Spread the wildflower seed uniformly in one direction, and then sow crossways from the first direction. Gently walk across your garden or better, use a roller to firm your wildflower seeds into the soil. Take care not to set your wildflower seeds too deep, since some seeds need sunlight to germinate and too much moisture will cause others to decay at depths over one-sixteenth inch.

After you've finished sowing, lightly water your wildflower seed garden. Once established, watering periodically during especially dry weather may be the only care your wildflower garden needs! Nature's adaptation factors provide built-in survivability in most wildflower gardening.

Let Nature be Your Guide - Answer the call of the wild in your yard simply by following nature's lead. Select plants and other landscape materials native to your region. The birds and butterflies your front yard attracts will enchant you and your guests. Incorporate a birdbath or bird feeder in your yard to attract even more birds.

Create a Buffer - Pack a small front yard with medium-size plants to help shield the home from street noise. Growing a variety of plants makes the yard look larger by giving your eye more textures, colors, and shapes to look at. Spend plenty of time looking out from your windows as you design. That way you will enjoy the view looking out as much as passersby enjoy looking into the wildflower garden.

Use Containers - A container wildflower garden provides a riot of color even if your front yard is primarily paved. A handful of large pots filled with bright or fragrant wildflowers transforms your front landscape into a work of art. Install a simple drip-irrigation system to make containers easier to maintain.

Use Space Smartly - Small city properties aren't limited to foundation shrubs and postage-stamp lawns. The layered look shown here features a variety of sizes and shapes for an eye-catching landscape that won't be missed. Repeat an element to bring continuity to the design and keep the landscape from looking helter-skelter.

Emphasize the Entry - Lacking height or grand proportions, small ranch-style homes can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Good landscaping gets them noticed. For example, use an ornamental arbor or fence to call attention to the house and mark the entrance. White structures stand out even more against colorful wildflowers and a nonwhite home.

wildflower garden designBlend Nature and Art - Blend natural and artificial elements to give your yard an established, comfortable look. For example, place boulders near the path and use groundcovers such as pachysandra. Flowering shrubs, such as azalea, rhododendron, and pieris soften the look of the stone. Look for features from your home to guide your design. Small trees can echo pillars on a porch, for example. Or use a water feature based on the shape of one of your home's architectural elements.

Create Repetition - Create drama and interest in your wildflower garden by planting spots of your favorite color. The recurring color will draw the eye through your landscape and give your yard a cohesive feel. Here, for example, clumps of bright red salvia pull attention from the front of the garden to the back.

Change with the Seasons - Add excitement to your yard by adjusting the color scheme from season to season. It's easy with a little planning -- just pay attention to your plants’ flowering times. For example, grow pink-, purple-, or blue-blooming bulbs and perennials in the spring; summery red and pink blossoms in the hot months; then mums with trees and shrubs in golden, orange, or red tones in autumn.

Design for Your Timeline - Consider when you spend the most time in your yard as you choose your colors. If you're outside mostly in the evenings, go for plants with silvery foliage or white wildflowers. They shimmer and shine as the sun goes down, whereas other shades tend to fade. If you see your garden mainly in the mornings, select bright wildflowers and foliage to give your day a cheery start.

Employ Bright Colors - Shades of red, orange, and yellow usually catch your eye the fastest, so use plants and art in these colors as focal points. These bold, bright hues are also perfect for directing attention away from objects you'd prefer not to view. For example, splash some orange in your yard to keep garden guests from noticing your neighbor's garbage cans or recycling bin.

Plant in Layers - Think of your wildflower garden like a cake and create bands of color that run horizontally. Layered plantings are wonderful for adding depth to your yard.

Pick a Color Palette - One easy way to create lots of interest is to picking a color scheme. Select a few shades that blend well and create the look you crave. By limiting your color choices, each one has more impact -- and it relates beautifully with everything around it.

Create a Canvas - Understated walls are perfect for showcasing art. So use neutral green, gray, or brown backgrounds to highlight plants or colors in your yard. Here, for example, a beige stucco wall makes beautiful climbing roses and honeysuckle shine.

Plant En Masse - Large groups of a single hue make more of an impact than smaller clusters, so coordinate your plants to create big drifts of color. This trick is effective both when you use a single plant and when you grow different plants of the same shade that bloom together. Try a widening swath of reds and blues to create a dramatic visual crescendo across the landscape.

Play Off Containers - Color-play doesn't have to be limited to wildflowers. Add interest in your yard with statement-making containers. A bold blue ceramic pot, for example, can make just as much impact as the blooms it holds.

Add Color with Structures - Landscape structures, such as fences, pergolas, and garden sheds can add a dose of visual thrill to your yard, especially if you live in a snowy winter climate. This cool blue fence ties in with a planting of perennial geranium and purple thalia in the water garden, and a red door and lime-green bench give the landscape some added pizzazz.

Think in Small Sections - Deciding how to plant your entire yard can be daunting. But make it easier by approaching color choices like you would a bouquet of wildflowers. Once you come up with a combo you like, select a few more wildflowers that come in those shades and plant them together around the yard.

Take It to the Next Level - Select trees with colorful foliage (such as tricolor beech or golden locust) or wildflowers to extend your garden's visual appeal up into the air. For the biggest impact, use trees that echo one of the tones in the plantings below them.

Brighten Shady Spots - Chartreuse is an ideal color for creating drama in shady spots. Plants such as Japanese forestgrass, ‘Gold Heart’ bleeding heart, creeping Jenny, or the variegated bamboo shown here act like a ray of sunshine. Also consider evergreens with golden foliage to enliven areas that experience a lot of gray skies in winter.

Play Up Purple - Golden leaves grab the eye, but so do purple ones. And plants with violet, maroon, or plum-hue leaves (including ‘Diabolo’ ninebark, many Japanese maples, and many weigelas) are especially trendy. The rich coloring stands out in the garden and blends well with a wide variety of shades, including chartreuse.

Go Monochrome - The easiest way to make a statement with color is to pick one hue. Create depth by using different shades. For example, explore the range of purples. And don't forget to tie your design together by adding plants that have your preferred color in their foliage.

Make a Sense of Space - Soft colors such as white and pastel pinks, purples, and blues can make your wildflower garden feel larger because they seem like they're farther away. Maximize the effect by planting bolder shades of red, orange, or yellow up close.

Create Contrasts - White stands out most next to black, so use that same idea in wildflower garden design by combining plants with light-color wildflowers or foliage with darker ones. A purple-leafed phormium makes a strong background for the white variegation in a scented geranium or the brightness of a pristine rose bloom.

Attract Attention - Bold colors stand on their own, so shades of red, orange, and yellow are perfect for drawing attention to your favorite landscape element. Try planting red bee balm next to your front door, for example, or try bright furniture next to a garden hearth. A crimson rocker acts as a literal red flag to draw the eye toward an inviting blaze.

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