WILDFLOWERS – BENEFITS AND BEAUTY
Take A Walk In The Woods And You Will Find Tranquility
I was so fortunate growing up in the country. I spent my first years in Detroit, but then my family moved to a rural area in Livonia. We lived on Schoolcraft Rd. It was a four lane with a pine tree-lined berm for miles. Now people know it as I-96. I don’t know when that happened. All I know is in the 50’s it was mostly country. We had 4 acres and it was mostly woods.
My brother, Walt and I would go in the woods every day and explore. Bugs didn’t scare me. I have seen plenty out there. I particularly remember a wildflower that was yellow and my mom said it was a Buttercup. It was a beautiful flower. I have seen many out there, but for some reason, I remember that one the most.
When I got older, I visited many wooded areas and it was mostly for finding wild berries or just looking for tranquility. There’s much to be said about the peacefulness in the woods. Those who go camping understand the feeling. Air so clean and rivers so crystal clear. A true adventure. Just walking and hiking lends to many discoveries.
Many state parks offer hiking trails that are absolutely breathtaking. You have to stop and take it all in, not rush through it like it’s a race.
My favorite one is in Tennessee. Natchez Trace. The longest and most beautiful spread of wooded and beauty scattered driving experience. There are many areas to hike in also. But just driving through it is a pleasure. Beautiful pink and white Dogwood scatters the entire area of it.
If you have not experienced the beauty of the woods, get out there and enjoy. Make it a point to go visit a state park or any wooded area and discover the many wildflowers that grow there.
Many, many wildflowers can be found growing on the sides of roads and freeways. These beauties grow wild and are more beautiful than most flowers we plant in our yard. A good idea is to try to grow some of them at home. They are hardy and take less work that our domestic ones. Most have survived hard conditions, unlike our nursery flowers.
Lilies of The Valley is one flower that grows wild in the woods. I would never have one in my yard. They are so toxic to animals. Just one taste can kill a dog. So keep Lilies of the Valley in the woods to enjoy when you come upon them. Some of these flowers only bloom for a very short time. I believe Lilies of the Valley bloom for about 10 days. The foilage stays, but the blooming of the beautiful bells last a very short time.
All the pictures you see scattered throughout these posts are Wildflowers that I have actually seen. There are thousands. I have ventured many wooded areas in search of wild Blackberries and Elderberry. I have canned and frozen many quarts of these for jellies and jams, Pies and desserts. Truly edible, delicious and best of all, FREE. All you have to do is find them.
So many edible wild flowers out there. I focus mainly on Elderberry and Blackberries. There are many more goodies that are free for the taking. I have a few Blackberry and Raspberry bushes in my yard, but I could never grow enough to make the amount of jelly or jam that I want so I take to the woods to get my harvest.
In my area, Blackberries and Elderberries are mature around Sept, sometimes late August. When You find one Blackberry bush you find hundreds nearby. Most times enough for me to can 3 or 4 cases of jelly or jam. You can freeze them too for later. Easy freezing in ziplock bags. Just thaw, rinse and make your jellies, jams or desserts.
Elderberries can be in large patches or just a few. I know I felt disappointed many times when I found one and then only one or two more. These bushes can yield a lot of fruit, but when you’re doing cases at a time, you need to find many. Not to mention the pies to make to bake later.
I love the fact that they are free. It would cost so much to make Blackberry Jam by buying them. Or an Elderberry equivalent for pies and berries. So, free is good.
It is also a family affair. I always went with my son or some friends to pick them. We made a day of it. So if you are on a tight budget or just enjoy the find like I do, it is a healthy experience, Getting fresh air and free food, while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.Priceless.
There are medicinal and healthy Wildflowers out there too.
Stinging Nettle isn’t a pretty wild plant but it is very beneficial tea. Just thought I would mention that. You can read all about this wild plant and others for tea on my post HERE.
This list of wildflowers to grow in your yard will support wildlife, help the eco system of your soil and help birds and butterflies survive. Not to mention this garden of wildflowers will tolerate all weather conditions, making a very easy to grow lush flower garden that will last for years to come.
List of all Wildflowers. This is the complete list for the whole country.
Here is a small list of my favorite type for growing in the yard.
Milky Bellflower (Campanula latifolia)
This gorgeous wildflower grows to about 30 in tall. Beautiful serrated leaves. Will come back again every year and multiply.
Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)
This pretty wildflower will grow 30 inches, reseeds itself and is a great source of nectar for insects and provides winter food for birds by eating the seeds of the winter dormant plant.
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)
Similar to Cow Parsley, this plant will survive in very poor soil. Its beautiful lacy flowers are a great addition to your wildflower collection. This wildflower will improve the soil over time. White lacy flowers can also be a little pink, depending on soil.
Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium verum)
This beautiful unusual wildflower is a wonderful ground growing plant. Great for filling in spots. Only reaches heights of 14 in. It will thrive in almost any soil, but prefers well-drained areas. Drought resistant. The flowers grow straight up with unusual square stems. It sends down roots where ever it touches the soil.
Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)
This wildflower is a hairy biennial or perennial with colors ranging from blue to pale lavender. Pin cushion blooms above a mass of branched stems. Great source of nectar for butterflies and bees. Grows to 24 in. Very hardy and drought resistant plant.
Ox-Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Pretty white flowers with deep yellow disc florets in the center. Multiplies heavily in spaces to fill in. tall flowers with dense bases. A sure win for the home landscape. Grows to 30 in. Drought resistant.
Many other Wildflowers like Cosmos and Marigold, also the sunflower categories.
Wildlife, including Bees, Butterflies, and Birds will benefit if you have a few of these wildflowers in your yard.
It is a must that you prepare your soil to grow wildflowers. If you are planting by seed, there are several ways to be successful.
Start with a weed free bed. Prepare the soil as you would for planting flowers.
plant a small pot of each wildflower you are planting so you know if the flower you are tending is a noxious weed or the wildflower.
lay a shallow layer of hay on the seeds to hold in moisture. Show mercy for outdoor wildlife that eats your seeds. Solution. Plant again.
water lightly daily and keep moist till seeds germinate and start growing.
Continue pulling weeds once small potted plants are big enough to identify. Do not plant seeds until the small potted plant has germinated and is growing.
Big or small, your choice
Consider growing at least two types of wildflowers. Every beneficial wildflower will help the eco system and sustain the life and well being of bees, butterflies, and birds, along with many insects that are needed.
One-half ounce seeds will cover 100 square feet.
One-quarter pound will cover 1000 square feet.
Getting your seeds free…..
Every time I see a wildflower I like, I just pick one of the dead flowers with the seeds and go home and dry them until next spring. One flower bud will hold a hundred seeds to several hundred.
Take a nature walk. You will see many wildflowers there. Just pick a dead flower and save till next year. Sort seeds by height and mix together.
Many online shops sell quality wildflower mixes. Heres a few that I use often. Burpee is my favorite, they have never let me down.
Amazon or Ebay is another good place for finding a good deal on wildflower seeds.
www.rareseeds.com They have many hard to get seeds.
I prefer to collect them myself, and create much-needed exercise which is great for the body and the beauty creates tranquility. So this is by far the best way for me. Try it, you won’t regret it. If you have done it, do it again, this time, collect some seeds.
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Mom and Grandma