2007-01-05

Front yard meadow details - California natives

I previously promised more details on my front yard meadow. By Spring, it will be growing California native wildflowers purchased as seed from The Theodore Payne Foundation instead of the sterile and water hungry lawn.

Wild Heliotrope (Phacelia Tanacetifolia)
Goldfields (Lasthenia Californica)
Botta's Clarkia (Clarkia bottae)
Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia Unguiculata)
Purple Needle Grass (Nasella Pulchra)
Red Fescue (Festuca rubra molate)
Globe Gilia (Gilia capitata capitata)
Yarrow (Achilea millefolium)

and added some seeds I'd collected myself:

California poppy (Eschozila of a couple varieties)
blue eyed grass (Sisyrinchium douglasii or Olsynium - this nomenclature is confusing to me)
Foothill California Fuchsia (wild selection - most likely Epilobium canum latifolium)


All the seed packets were of the small variety (1/8 oz?) except for the Achillea Millefolium which I had bought in quantity back when I thought I'd be planting just yarrow - I used only a fraction of a packet for that so that the yarrow seed volume was about the same as each of the others.

Seeds were mixed together with sand (maybe 1:30 seed:sand ratio by volume) and broadcast with a hand held, hand cranked, fetilizer/spreader over bare earth which had been lightly scratched up with a garden rake. I flipped the rake over, ran its back over the soil to cover the seeds, and watered thoroughly with a light spray so as not to wash the seeds away. I then had to leave for a few days while my house was fumigated, and my front yard trampled, but I've watered most days since then. That leaves me where I am today - a bit nervous because I've not seen lots of evidence of the seeds sprouting yet.

Some transplanted specimens are doing well enough: A low spot in the meadow designed to capture rainwater received a Mexican rush (Juncus mexicanus) from another part of the yard where it wasn't doing so well. It's flourishing now. Two other places received transplants of Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis probably 'Warren Peak'), which didn't seem to do well in my yard - those were left over experiments to see what worked and what didn't. They'll have another chance to prove themselves after a proper winter in the ground. Finally, I put in two yarrow plants from elsewhere in the yard. They'd been doing fine, but seemed to need more water than I wanted to give them. On the other hand they'd been in the ground for less than a year and their root systems were doing well, so perhaps I needn't have moved them. With their healthy root growth, they probably would have needed less water in coming years.