Today I was working on a part of my garden that I have never truly liked.
And I thought, how can I get this part of the garden to work the way I know it can work?
The answer was: Garden the way nature thinks.
This idea seemed like a breakthrough because we live in a world where it’s so easy to only care about results and what others think.
Truthfully I don’t really care about either of those things. Gardening is one giant experiment for me. None of my gardens are picture-perfect, most of the time.
I simply want to achieve the results that I know are possible because I have experienced them in other areas of the yard. I want to love how my garden looks first and share the beauty with others second. So if I am not satisfied then I need to keep experimenting.
I have had success growing flowers all over the place, often despite myself. It sure helps when you purchase seeds that rarely fail like those I get from Botanical Interests. I have learned more from seeds that succeed than from seeds that fail.
A garden has multiple acts. There is a big ta-da in spring because you wait for it all winter. There is the summer climax of the garden, when the plants are so tall, bright and cheerful. Then there is the winding down in fall, which leads to that barren winter void.
I love all the seasons in the garden. And I love them even more when I don’t have to work too hard to grow beautiful flowers. I love it when my beds have their own momentum that carries them almost effortlessly through season after season.
So the first thing I did was rip the weeds out of the area. Sometimes I out pull plants that are not considered weeds, if I am not fond of them. In this case, a lot of mint was growing in this area and I ripped it all out. It smelled great but mint is too invasive around here (zone 8b).
Then I went shopping for free seeds. Which is another way of saying, I walked around the yard with my snips collecting seeds that were already dry on plants letting them fall into a mixing bowl. Late summer and early fall are good times to gather seeds. And who doesn’t like free?
I gathered Balsam, Hyssop, Sweet William, Hollyhock, Feverfew, Calendula, Shasta Daisy and Foxglove and scattered the seeds and husks across the area. In a bit I will go out and water everything in. And then I will forget about them and see what happens in the spring. I have a bit of drip irrigation installed there already, so I don’t have to worry about watering.
If I had some planting compost handy, I would mix the seeds into the compost or sprinkle some compost on top to protect them a bit more from critters. But it really doesn’t matter much since the seeds are all 100% free.
I love gardening this way. I just remembered that I have some seeds collected from last season that I can add to the bed. Why not use up all the free seed I already have?
Sometimes I like specific flowers in one part of the yard but not others. This is one of those beds where I have never achieved enough height and drama. So I am scattering seeds for a lot of tall flowers. For this reason, I will add some Rudbeckia Tribola seeds to the mix.
I don’t worry about planting in drifts, I just scatter mixed seeds all over the planting area and water them in. Nature will take care of the rest. Flowers will grow wherever they are happy if their needs are met.
Gardening should always be this easy and spontaneous. I can’t wait to see what pops up next growing season!