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Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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May 8, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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May 8, 1997
 

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" lThursday, May 8, 1997 Pahrump Vall'ey Gazette Baby's Breath, Bachelor's Button, Blackeyed Susan, Dames Rocket and Indian Blanket are a sampling of the wildflowers that will thrive in your garden. Once started, wildflowers will return year after year to provide dazzling color to delight the eye. Flowers feed the soul and are as important to me as the flavor filled vegetables from my garden. Just a picture of an English garden with flowers filling every space is a joy. Trying to create an English garden in our desert is daunt- ing. But, why insist on an English garden? We desert dwelling flower lovers can have flowers, flowers everywhere. We just have to think native. Wild- flowers dance in the sun, play in the wind, and rest during the freezing cold. They have evolved to survive our de- manding climate and thrive on the meager provisions in our desert soils. Wildflowers have defeated adversity to grace our hostile land with incredible beauty. My neighbor, Mai, planted wildflower seeds in a bare area on the east side of her property between her border trees and the driveway. She was disappointed initially when the wildflowers didn't appear to do much. This is a common reaction, all that work with little reward. Patience is the key as the reward usually takes a year. Mai didn' t have to wait a year only a season. By fall the Cosmos in her seed mix were a sensational sea of flowers. The mass of purple, pink and white flowers were truly awe- inspiring. A garage sale brought lots of lookers to Mai's yard. The Cosmos stole the show, and everyone wanted to know how she had achieved such a spectacular display of flowers. Few believed the dazzling array of Cosmos had grown from a wildflower seed mix. The following year the perennials provided a brilliant color display. A delight even if not as showy as the mass flowering of Cosmos. When growing wildflowers, one needs to apply the four Ps of gardening: Planning, Preparation, Planting and Patience. Planning is easy as wildflowers are willing to bloom wherever they are planted as long as its sunny. I plan to use wildflowers to transform the barren area over my leach field into a fl.owering meadow. Plant them in any area you want to cover or enliven. They are great as drive or road way borders, in rocky areas or other harsh environments. You can landscape using a mass of one color or a diversity of plants to provide bloom from spring through fall. Preparation is primarily making certain the area is weed free. Don't rototill unless your ground is packed as Sod Farm we do lawns Cold.ors Lk:#38250 Lk. P.I15.SS / rp450cs or co Mon. - Fri, 9" 5, Sat. 9- 3, Closed Sun. 6471 S. Homestead (Across from Sod Farm) Startmg at 00.99 a sq. Rolls of Linoleum starting at $3.99 a sq.yd. -727-0744- "x13" " " 13 00eramlc (whiteonly) tile over 3000 sq.ft. $1.29 a sq.ft hard as a parking lot. Tilling will activate buried weed seeds and lead to delayed planting to eradicate weeds. Bd sure you get the roots of the weeds or they will return to overwhelm your wildflowers. You can add some compost, mulch or organic fertilizer, but don't overdo this. You can add compost or mulch as a seed cover. Finally, make sure the seedbed is firm and free of clumps. Planting is best if done in the late fall or early spring, but with a little extra care you can still have success now. A little seed goes a long way. It helps to add sand or organic material to help spread the seed evenly and keep from overseeding. A4 to 1 ratio (sand to seed) works well. Rake the seed in lightly and be careful not to bury it too deeply, not more than 1/4 to + inch. For best results go over the area twice, North/South then East/West. Tamp to firm the seedbed. Provide a thin cover of mulch or compost, well rotted manure will work. You need a cover to keep the seed from flying away, being eaten or drying out. After planting, water. Yes, even though they are na- tives, they need water especially in the beginning. Use a fine spray and water at least twice a day for the first three weeks. Keep the seedbed damp to promote germination. Then water at least once a day for the next three weeks. Then water several times a week and finally as needed with a slow deep watering giving the best results. Patience will pay off. Remember, it takes nature many years to create a wildflower meadow, we can't duplicate that in one year. The perennials won't bloom until the second year and some even take three years. Plant at least half your mix in annuals so you'll have blooms the first year. Don't be in a hurry to deadhead or pick the flowers. Let most of them "go to seed" to provide flowers for the next year. It will be unsightly when the flowers die, but resist the temptation to mow them down until the all the flowers have finished flowering and set seed. Wildflower seeds can be purchased locally and in Las Vegas at most garden centers. Look for a mix that desig- nates the southwest. You can also purchase by mail. Mail gives you the advantage of purchasing most varieties in bulk and also allows you to select your own mix. You may be surprised to see a number of flowers already growing in your garden listed as a wildflower. I have Yarrow, Primrose, Coreopsis, Blue Flax, Verbena, Baby's Breath, Cosmos, Iceland Poppy and many, many California Poppies. Wildflowers can provide an array of colorful blooms to make the visions of flowers dancing in our heads a reality to enjoy. Plant native.