Finding native wildflowers around your home may be a tough chore. Years of man’s activities have cleared much our land of native plant species and replaced them with lush green lawns or highly manicured landscapes.
Some of those processes support our local wildlife and many do not.
Both Gabby and I feel we should be responsible stewards of our land and use it in a way that not only benefits us but does something to help the local wildlife as well.
Growing up in the Appalachians, my father and I regularly raised honey bees and it was fairly easy to stroll through the woods and run into a bee tree or two.
Today, I can’t say I have seen a bee tree on our property; however, I have taken up the mission of restoring honey bees to our farm.
In doing so, I began to research wildflowers, of native varieties, that would serve our honeybees well and support other wildlife as well.
What to Plant – Is it Native to My Region?
The first question that comes to mind is – “How do I know if the wildflower is Native to my area?”.
I have found that each state’s Department of Natural Resources or Agriculture Extension has a list of native plants, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees, complete with photos and descriptions of each plant either on their online site or by request at their local office.
There are numerous resources, both private or public and the US Forest Service has a very good resource page which covers a variety of topics related to wildflowers.
Some of the seed farms will also have regional charts and sell seed by mixes by region if you check their websites.
I verify that the seed provided are indeed from my region by comparing the seed ingredient charts with my local wildflower resource before purchasing them.
Getting Started with Wildflowers
We are in the Appalachians, so I tend to use the northeast region for my wildflower purposes. I have spent hours determining what wildflowers I will plant and that we want on our property.
My rules for wildflower selection are:
- The flower has to be native to my area.
- The flower should support local/native pollinators.
Once I verify the plants/seeds meet my selection criteria, I compare the wildflower’s individual bloom time.
Is the wildflower a spring, summer or fall blooming wildflower?
This not only provides color in my planting areas the entire spring/summer/fall, but also gives the pollinators a longer gathering season which supports their cycle of life.
Once verified, I order my seeds from a reputable source.
Enjoy the Beauty of Wildflowers
Many of the wildflowers are annuals which will seed out and grow again next year in the same area.
The perennials in the seed blend should last from 3-5 years depending on their establishment.
Overseeding with more mix the next planting cycle will ensure you keep your wildflowers going strong and building wildflowers into your backyard wildlife landscaping plan will benefit the majority of your local wildlife.
The winter months are a perfect time of year to order your seed for the upcoming season and began to prepare your wildflower’s return.
So, ready to do your part to bring back the native wildflowers and pollinators?