Wildflower question

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by nichelle, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. nichelle

    nichelle Active Member 10 Years

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    I want to plant a small wildflower garden on top of a gravel bed. How deep should the soil be? I’m using westcoast seeds, partial shade mix, which worked well for me last year - but in a regular bed, not over gravel.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Any puddling?
     
  3. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    It's important to know exactly which wild flowers you are thinking about. Are they part of a wildflower mix? When you say you're using westcoast seeds, are you talking about the seed company West Coast Seeds or are you talking about seeds from plants that are native to the west coast of BC?

    I am creating a garden of native BC plants right now on a sunny, rocky scree with quite a surprising amount of humus that has built up over the years. Plants like Spring gold, Native onions, Frittilarias, Dodecatheons, Sea blush, Miner's lettuce, etc. grow well in such a site.

    If, on the other hand, you buy a seed mix such as West Coast Seeds sells called Pacific Northwest Blend, you will find that the plants are not endemic to this area but "have been selected due to their performance in the Pacific Northwest". It may be they need a deeper, richer soil but you won't know until you find out which specific plants are in the mix.
     
  4. nichelle

    nichelle Active Member 10 Years

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    No - there’s a lot of gravel underneath. BC hydro dumped a lot of gravel and now I’m going to shovel some away, put soil on top and plant wildflower seeds. Just not sure how deep the soil should be.
     
  5. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    QUESTION - what used to be where the BC Hydro gravel is now?

    If it was blackberries or other sturdy invasive - you might want to put some professional grade landscape CLOTH (not plastic) down then your layer of soil

    Can you easily water this spot to get your seedlings going?

    AND as Margot points out - be very careful with so-called “wildflower mix” ... some of the mix could be a weed you regret (and neighbors get annoyed)

    If you are buying from the West Coast Seeds on Ladner BC ... I would be somewhat confident to plant

    California poppies are easy to manage even tho they do re-seed

    Absolutely NO ivy please

    My other thought is enhance the gravel with some driftwood and a couple of special stones and a large decorative planter container or three (I like odd numbers)
     
  6. nichelle

    nichelle Active Member 10 Years

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    It’s the wildflower seed mix by Westcoast Seeds called partial shade, wildflower mix. I do know the various seeds in the mix. Just wondered if I need a few inches, 6”, a foot of soil? Just a very rough idea. I can’t seem to find the information online anywhere.
     
  7. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    It’s hard to know not being familiar w your site ... budget $ might help you decide coverage

    Flowers bloom on the side of roads but in patches and it’s pretty evident who the survivors are.
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    A number of the constituents of that seed mix only require a shallow soil profile, but there are a few that will go much deeper. What did you end up doing? I think six inches would cover all but a couple species.

    Wouldn't the soil you place on top slowly work its way down to the spaces between the gravel?
     
  9. nichelle

    nichelle Active Member 10 Years

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    I used about 6” of soil and loads of seeds have germinated. So far, so good!
     
  10. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    that is great news !
    I hope you can post a photo

    Which seeds did you choose?
     
  11. nichelle

    nichelle Active Member 10 Years

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    wildflower seed mix by Westcoast Seeds called partial shade, wildflower mix
     
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  12. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I took the time to look up precisely what plants are included in Westcoast Seeds wildflower mix for partial shade. Here it is:

    Among the flowers in the Partial Shade wildflower seeds, ingredients are a host of plants that will do perfectly well in partial shade to full sun. None of these plants will thrive in full shade but they will perform in diffused light along the north side of a building or hedge. The Partial Shade Mix wildflower seeds are made up of eighteen species, of which annuals make up approximately 55% and the perennial/biennials make up 45%.

    Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii)
    Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila elegans)
    Candytuft (Iberis umbellata)
    Chinese Forget Me Not (Cynoglossum amabile)
    Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla)
    Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)
    Columbine, dwarf (Aquilegia vulgaris)
    Columbine, giant (Aquilegia caerulea)
    Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
    Johnny Jump-Ups (Viola tricolor)
    Lance Leaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
    Perennial Lupin (Lupinus perennis)
    Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
    Rocket Larkspur (Consolida regalis)
    Shasta Daisy ‘Alaska’ (Chrysanthemum maximum)
    Spurred Snapdragon ‘Northern Lights’ (Linaria maroccana)
    Sweet William Pinks (Dianthus barbatus)
    Tussock Bellflower (Campanula carpatica)

    Although I do not see a potential for invasiveness among these choices, I remain skeptical about how they will perform for even one season, especially in only 6 inches of soil. Please let us know @nichelle as the season progresses - a picture or two would be great.

    If all grow and bloom as promised, you will be in for a real treat.
     
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  13. nichelle

    nichelle Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes, I grew this same seed mix last year and it is gorgeous. Here are a few pics from last summer.
     

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  14. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The Eurasian Gypsophila elegans has invasive potential in some places; see the distribution map on GBIF: Gypsophila elegans M.Bieb.
     
  15. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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  16. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Absolutely gorgeous —- and it lasts all summer? Does the heat w no rain typical of YVR summer « ruin » your display?
     
  17. nichelle

    nichelle Active Member 10 Years

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    The flowers lasted until early October, but kept changing. The fall flowers were mostly coreopsis and cornflowers (which I deadheaded religiously). It was the easiest and most satisfying gardening project I’ve ever done! Now my neighbours are doing the same.
     
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