Thursday, November 4, 2010


My friend Kristen near Kitt's Peak

I have to admit that this post does not excite me like it should.  I don't know why, but I guess I'll explain as I go.  I should first admit that I LOVE California poppies and Globe Mallow and I LOVE the desert blooming in the springtime.  I've been here long enough to have witnessed two amazing blooms in our Sonoran desert. Wildflowers are a wonderful attraction in any garden, but my issue is that they are high maintenance once you get them going....oh yeah, and they like to pop up all over the place whether you like it or not.

I yelled at her to get on the ground but she wouldn't at first because she thought a rattlesnake may have been hiding.  Ahhh Kristen:)

So you may ask, "Why are you writing this blog about wildflowers then?"  I just had a class on them this past weekend and I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to the discussion.  Our speaker was a wonderful person who loves these varied plants and was definitely passionate about her topic.  But like my neighbor said to me at the table, "These plants look like weeds and what I pull out of my garden!"  I started laughing because I have killed many a wildflower.....and I know that I'm doing it.  They are pesky and weedy and get into everything.  The flower is pretty, but afterwards, it makes the garden look unkept.  I know I know.....who do you think you are mister?  Wildflowers are the bomb, phat, tight, cool, or fill in the blank with the latest word for "awesome"___________!  Okay okay...don't shoot me down....I love all plants great and small, but I like them in their natural setting.  "But they are in their natural setting!"  Yes yes....I know this....just not in my garden please:)
Taken in '97 near Kitt's Peak. In masses, wildflowers are sexy.

Here are some tips if you are into wildflowers....and they are pretty when in bloom.  The seeds are generally smaller so put them in a ziploc bag with some sand and mix them up.  Rake up an area loosely and sprinkle the seeds into the ground.  Cover with a light amount of dirt and water gently. Note. Some gardeners leave extra seed out for their feathered friends as they like to check out your work once you're done.  In the desert, it is important to plant your seeds in September or October so that they will germinate. Most need full sun. Not to be a party pooper, I purchased some desert zinnias and am planting them on the south side of the home.  We'll see what sprouts. Here's the 411 of wildflower perfection in the Spring....
-You need moisture to germinate seeds.  Some recommend a deep soaking of the seeds to wash off the "inhibitor".
-Plant between September and early December for germination to get that fabulous wildflower show that makes the Sonoran desert dance
-1 inch of moisture is required along with heat and fall rains.  If fall rains are sparse, as they have been this "La Niña" year, water area.

If you are heading to Rocky Point, as I am seen here, you will pass some key areas of the Sonoran desert that are famous for their wildflower shows of mallow, lupine, datura....well, the list goes on and on. It is not uncommon for people to stop along the roads and snap pictures as I did on our way down to Mexico from Tucson. Best time for Mother Nature's show is from April to May.

Did you know?
In the Sonoran desert, 5,000-10,000 seeds are found per square meter according to studies done by the UA.


  1. I'm with you. I like wildflowers in their setting, but in my garden they would seem unkempt and messy... maybe if my garden were huge they would seem at home. Oh and I really miss seeing the wildflowers in bloom when I was growing up in the mojave! The other day it rained for the first time in like, forever, and the earthy smell was enough to take me back to the desert again, when the rains came.

  2. To avoid an unkempt look, use wildflowers in masses in the background esp against a wall, with evergreen plants in the foreground. Maintain some. And minimize using taller wildflowers in smaller spaces - like with other plants.

    I find seeding wildflowers, that one should just do it, and delight when *they* decide to pop up. 10 years later, mine are all over, but not the 1st two DRY La Nina yrs!

  3. I love poppies also. I am with you in that I don't want them in my garden though. If I plant them fine (but I don't). I would rather find them in there natural setting too!


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