Wildflower “Butterfly Garden” Mix

In my quest to grow more flowers last year, I picked up a wildflower mix. It is a “Butterfly mix”. A few years ago I think I picked up a Bee-garden mix, and was looking for it again, but could not find it. Along with the butterfly mix, there was also a hummingbird garden mix and an old fashioned garden mix. However, I didn’t get around to sowing the packet. I got distracted by tomatoes.

The seed packet description reads: “The butterfly mixture contains a blend of delightfully fragrant and colorful flowers that attract nearby Butterflies while adding beauty to your garden.”

I thought it would be a good idea to de-code the “contents” names that are only in the latin/botanical name.

  • Alyssum maritimum: Sweet Alyssum or Sweet Allison. This is one I’m not particularly familar with. It is a member of the brassica family though, and native to the Meditarinian. Annual
  • Calendula officinalis: Calendula, or Pot Marigold. This is a self-seeding annual or a short-lived perennial. 
  • Centaurea cyanus: Bachelor’s Button or Cornflower. Annual
  • Cheiranthus allionii: Siberian Wallflower. Biennial
  • Coreopsis tinctoria: Golden Tickseed or Plains Coreopsis. Annual
  • Cynoglossum amabile: Chinese Forget-Me-Not. Annual
  • Delphinium consolida: Field Larkspur (Until I did some googling, I just expected this one to be regular perennial Delphinium, but according to the internet, it is an annual wildflower variety. Annual  (NOTE…. Do not eat or allow any animals to eat. Very Poisonous)
  • Dianthus barbatus: Sweet William. Biennial 
  • Echinacea purpurea: Purple Coneflower, Purple Echinacea. Annual
  • Eschscholzia californica: California Poppy. Perennial in warm areas, Annual in colder areas.
  • Gypsophila elegans: Baby’s Breath. Annual
  • Leucanthemum x superbum: Shasta Daisy. Perennial
  • Linum grandiflorum rubum: Scarlet Flax or Red Flax. Annual
  • Linum perenne: Blue Flax or Perennial Flax. Perennial
  • Rudbeckia hirta: Black Eyed Susan. Biennial (Some warmer areas- Perennial, some colder areas-Annual)
  • Silene armeria: Sweet William Catch-fly. Perennial in Zone 5-8, so probably Annual here.

Last year, I also received in the mail the Honey Nut Cheerios “Bring Back the Bees” Wildflower seed mix, And a pack of wildflower seeds from Bees Matter. And just like the pack above, I did not get around to sowing them. I like that the Bees Matter pack included the varieties they included in the pack. I will hopefully get these sown this year as well.

While I appreciate Honey Bees, they are not native here. If they want to come check out my flowers that is awesome, but I am growing them more for ANY pollinators that want to visit, and not just Honey Bees.


 

This is some of the seeds in the “Butterfly garden” Mix
Advertisements

Summer Bulbs

Despite my late start to gardening this year, I am not lacking any enthusiasm. The ultra cold spring we are having (As I am starting the writing of this post, we have a snowfall warning of 10-15cm of snow) is really helping the dream of summer… and the hope that mother nature will make up for this terrible spring with a beautiful summer and long, warm fall.

As I have been picking up gardening bits here and there, I’ve been splurging on some bulbs for some hopeful color in the garden this year. As I am buying them, I’ll add them here and post once there is a handful for you to read about. Any tips for success with any of these, OR others I should try to find for my garden, please leave a comment.

First up, – Gladiolus  I never remember to pull my bulbs at the end of the summer. Maybe this year will be the year. But the tall spikes of beautiful flowers always remind me of my grandma, and my great grandma, and I try to grow some every year, (but their success varies from year to year).  This year, I just bought a mixed pack of 10 for $3.50, at Superstore. If I get some time to care more for them this year, then I may splurge on some fancier bulbs in the future that have names and known colour.

‘Blue Poppy’ Anemone De Caen  – These were too beautiful to pass up, and I can hardly wait to see them in person. I’ve never grown them before, so any tips and tricks you can share in the comments would be very welcome. These are from a local garden centre (Blue Grass Nursery), and I think I paid $3.99

‘Bouton de Rose’ -Novelty Begonia – I’ve never grown begonias before either, but I always fall in love with them in the garden centres. So I figured this year was the year to finally try them. I’ve been on the hunt for part-shade plants for the front yard that only receives morning sunlight. Like the above Anemone, this is also from a local garden centre (Blue Grass Nursery), and I think I paid $3.99 for the bulb.

Pink Calla Lily  – I grabbed this at Lowes when I was grabbing some Seed-Starting mix that was on sale there. I grew some Calla Lilies on a whim when I was still living at home, and they were so beautiful. I’m not sure why its taken me so long to try them again.

Cobaea ‘Cathedral Bells’

With the piles of snow outside, I thought it might be nice to go back to some things I grew last year (or even previous to that) and recount the experience.

Pronounced  Ko-Bee-Uh, it is also sometimes referred to as Cup & Saucer Vine or  Monastery Vine.

Some quick googling tells me that this is only hardy to Zone 9-10. I figured it was worth the risk last year, since we started the year off so warm. And usually, if something is impossible to grow here, then they don’t sell it here.

img_4123

I started them inside early because whether it was warm or not, we are still only a zone 3/4 (or 5-ish on a good year).

Since the seedlings were much larger than I anticipated, I ended up potting them up much sooner than I normally would. (3 into party cups on April 11, and the remaining 6 into party cups on April 17th… would have been sooner, but I needed to buy more potting soil and cups)

These things grew fantastic… They cling onto nearly anything. I had one climbing up a bare 4×4 fence post. It did not need any trellising to climb. They did not seem to like the teepee of smooth bamboo canes.

While they grew fantastic. I didn’t get any flowers… Our summer was cool and dry when it is normally warm and wet… and then hot and wet, when it is normally starting to cool. And then the cold just kind of came in with a bang. 2016 was weird. I had these planted in 4 different areas. They definitely need as much sun as possible. Morning shade with hot afternoon sun was great for them. The 2 plants I put into the area that gets morning sun and evening shade did not fare well. This may be partly due to soil, but I think they just need the heat (being that they are from a hot climate).

Will I try these again? Possibly. They were pretty tenacious and I like that. But I might wait for a different year when I’m feeling more ambitious to try new and different things.

I didn’t keep any pictures I may have taken of them growing to share with you now. If they had flowered, there probably would have been tons of photos.

Have you grown these? Share your experiences in the comments below.

 

March 2016 Update

Things are starting to pick up garden wise now. Our weather has been pretty glorious this month. A few little snow falls, but nothing that has really stuck around. It has been a nice change from a few years ago when it was -30 (Celsius)  for nearly the whole month and there was no end in sight to the snow. For once it felt like Spring on the first official day of Spring. So this might be a bit of a long winded update.

**My iPhone is updating right now and I need to go to bed, so I will add some photos in later. I still want to get this posted on the last day of March though. I will have the video up on YouTube this weekend once I am done work for the week and I have the time to put into it. Thanks everyone for understanding! I’ll add in any photos I have already uploaded at the end as possible.**

I sowed my Mexican Purple Garlic into paper pots on March 6. I made a little video to play around with some editing.Once sown, I put them in the fridge to help give them the cold they need to split into bulbs (the ground was still frozen solid). It is an experiment, so I’m interested to see if it will work. On March 22, after waiting for the ground to thaw enough to dig, it was finally ready for the garlic to go outside. Despite the paper pots being frozen solid (because my fridge likes to think its a freezer sometimes), I was kind of amazed to see little roots on some of the pots that broke apart. If everything goes right, I should end up with 20 bulbs of purple garlic! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Also, while rooting around in the dirt outside (on March 22), finding areas that are ready to be turned over for Spring, I discovered the the Elephant Garlic that I planted last year (that did absolutely nothing), has sprouted! Also, the Spring Bunching Onions are growing well. I’m glad I left them there for the winter. I never would have guessed that they would survive to Spring. All 3 rhubarb crowns are starting to poke their heads up.

On the 26th and 27th, I got some of the digging done outside in the areas that are starting to thaw out. Mostly I got a lot of the winter build up of dog poo picked up. I moved the little stack of wood that will be in our way when we finally start working on the patio. Some of the wood I used to start building the edges of the beds. Any of it that was a little too small or too rotten to use, I re-stacked over on the other side of our house where the mason bee house is. It will be a good bug habitat over there. I’ll be trying to get as much digging done as possible to be able to plant sooner. I also got started on digging the new bed by the garage – For the clematis and hopefully grapes. Ideally we will be getting the patio done this year… but I did say that last year and our bricks are still sitting stacked out in our driveway.

On the 28th, I started working on the bed by the apple tree too. I was thinking of trying to grow watermelon there, BUT it might be too shady there for them. Now I am contemplating putting strawberries in it, or just growing some beans there. Only time will tell.

Moving onto the stuff I’ve started inside:

The ‘Northern Gold’ Onions I sowed on December 27 are doing well. They are a little smaller that I would expect at this time, but with some heat and sunshine I think they’ll perk right up. The second sowing on early January in the individual cells is doing well… Well the 2 that survived a bit of neglect, when I didn’t realize they had dried out as much as they had.

Peppers: The Habanero and The Hungarian Hot Wax peppers are doing fantastic. I potted them up on March 23. The Cayenne are also doing well, even though the germination rate has been shit. I put 4 seeds in every peat pellet, and only one came up in 4 out of 6 pellets. The other 2 I sowed again with 4 more seeds, and only one sprouted. So it looks like I will have 5 cayenne plants not 6. Disappointing considering they are new seeds. The Serrano Peppers I sowed on March 6 are doing great. As are the ‘Big Dipper’ Bell Peppers I sowed the same day. I’ll probably be potting up all the rest very soon. Here is the post from when I sowed them.

Tomatoes: The bunch (Part 1 here) I sowed on March 15 are doing incredible. I am always amazed at how quickly tomatoes grow. The bunch I sowed on March 23 (Part 2 here) are just starting to poke their heads out. Boxcar Willie won that sprouting race – It poked its head out on the 27th. Part 3 will be in the April update.

Ground Cherries: I am so interested to see how these will grow in a container. I have 4 peat pellets of them, so I think I will try 2 in a container, and 2 in the ground. They are starting to put on their first and second sets of true leaves and will be ready to pot up soon.

Strawberries: I originally sowed 12 pellets of ‘Patio Temptation’, and 6 germinated. Then I mistakenly let them dry out, and now I’m down to 3. But they are growing well. Slow, but they tend to grow slowly anyway. I picked up a pack of ‘Ozark Beauty’ strawberry plants at Home Depot, and plunked each one into a red solo cup to keep them growing rather than rotting away in a bag. 10 plants for $5. There were actually 11 in the bag. However, 3 of them still haven’t done anything in their cup. I’ll give them until early April before I decide to scrap the duds. Plus, if the weather keeps up, these can probably get moved outside soon.

Flowers:

Since I just updated you on the flowers a few days ago, I’ll just link to that post rather than repeat the same story here.

In addition to what is in the Flower post, I have some Tulips that I have been trying to force a little inside until I can dig around enough to get them outside. I just want them to start to make some roots and get a little head start. I put half of them outside on the 28th, and I’ll stick the rest out in a week or two. I always forget about the fall bulbs I find on sale, OR I find them on sale well after my garden is under snow.

When I found the ‘Ozark Beauty’ Strawberries at Home Depot, I also picked up a little pack of ‘Jackamanni’ Clematis that had 2 plants in it. I plunked them into some red solo cups to keep them alive. They are growing very well, and now the pressure is on to get their home created. (Which I started on the 27th!)

Outside, My delphiniums have little buds starting under the cover of their leaf mulch. And I noticed that the Lupin and Hollyhocks have some little surface buds. The foxgloves look like they didn’t even stop growing under the snow. I am also hoping that the daffodils I planted last year will come back. I’m not sure if they got enough energy stored up last summer or not. So more finger crossing here. I seem to be on a bit of a flower kick this year, so don’t be surprised if I add more bulbs and flowers around later this year.

Herbs:

The Lemon Balm, Lavender and Spearmint that were sown January 23, are doing great. I potted them up on March 5, and I’ve had to trim them a couple times since then. I want them to develop good, strong, bushy growth now before I send them outside and neglect them a little. I’ve moved them away from the lights and into the windows to get them a little more used to real sunlight.

The germination on most of the herbs I sowed earlier in the month was pretty amazing. A few things are a bit slower: The Rosemary, Sage and both types of Parsley are just sprouting now, but everything else was up in at least 6 days. I am still waiting for the Stevia, but I did see some tiny sprouts on March 22 when I was gently rooting around the soil. I added a few more seeds, so I will keep my fingers crossed that it decides to grow. As of March 30th, I have 3 sprouts in 2 of the pellets. I really hope that I get more sprouts soon.

Moving back outside, the Chives are putting on good growth. I also check my Chocolate Mint daily for signs of life (still waiting). If I can keep all these herbs going, I should have a decent amount to dry for storage. I’m hopeful that I can save some of my own seed from them as well. My lilacs and the crab apple tree are starting to develop buds. The trees should start developing their leaves too.

How was March in your area? Leave a comment below, and please check out my YouTube video update for this month… It should be up on the weekend, this week has just been too busy and crazy to get everything filmed and edited. We are still waiting to save up for our new camera, so the iPhone updates continue for now.

March 2016 Post Links:

Peppers, March 6 Random Update; Lettuce; Face Cream Review; Mexican Purple Garlic; Herbs; Garden Planning; Tomatoes 1; Carrots; Tomatoes 2; Flowers

‘Hungarian Hot Wax’ and ‘Habanero’ Peppers


Herbs, flowers, tomatoes (round 2)

  

Some of the things under the lights… Back is all flowers, left is Cayenne Peppers, right is Stevia


‘Ozark Beauty’ Strawberries 

  

‘Alaska’ Peas are popping up… I’ll let them get some growth, then they’ll go straight outside… They can handle some light frost.