A Native Plant Paradise

The perfect wild flower garden is everyone’s dream – fields of gorgeous wildflowers and native plants, growing in harmony and glowing in the sun. The ideal picture is not as easy as you would think to achieve.

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Native plants and wildflowers have evolved in a specific ecosystem, with checks and balances, the exact amount of snowfall or rain at the right times, and light levels that suit each individual species.

These factors are extremely difficult to try and copy in a garden setting, as many wild flowers that we try and fit into domesticated bliss are sometimes not eager to change their ways.

In nature, some wildflowers only grow on disturbed land, or after a fire.

Their sole purpose is to be pioneer species, so after a landslide, avalanche or wildfire, these are the first types of plants to appear, even after many decades, even hundreds of years without any sign of them.

Their seeds stay dormant in the soil until conditions are exactly right for them to germinate and grow.

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Luckily, there are many wildflowers and native plants that don’t require this perfect storm of conditions to grow happily in the garden.

Many perennials that conform to our ideals of the well behaved garden citizen are already growing contentedly in your perennial garden or flower garden as we speak. Some ‘tamed’ wildflowers are lupines, yarrow and poppies to name just a few.

Many xeric plants are actually wildflowers. They are reliable and tough, just the right characteristics for a low maintenance garden.

Many generations back, their forebears thrived in wastelands, meadows and other challenging sites, providing wildlife with fodder, bees and butterflies with pollen and nectar, and in their most important role, prevented soil from eroding and washing away.

The saying ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ is never truer than in wild flower gardens – the most common reason that people give up in disgust is that weeds like these same conditions, and lacking more desirable plants, that’s what Mother Nature will sow.