A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Looking Ahead Week: The Wildflower Area

In the back right corner of the yard sits an area of random wildflowers.  I don't know the names of all of them, but there are purplish flowers and goldenrod, among others, scattered in with black raspberry plants and other thorny plants that I don't know the name of.  It's kind of a random mess right now, and I'd like to add some order to this part of the yard, but I have to be careful, because the deer pass right through here all the time, as evidenced by the deer trail in the photo below.

I already cleared out some of the raspberry plants in the fall, such as the ones below.  (They're the ones with the purple stems, or canes.)

Though parts of the wildflower patch - especially those with the raspberries - can be pretty densely vegetated, other parts of it are somewhat sparse and open to planting:

Farther back, the raspberries and other thorny plants dominate the growth.  The wood log in the photo below marks a short path through the wildflowers; beyond it, I'm thinking of clearing out the other thorny plants and letting the raspberries just grow and see how that pans out.

But in other places, like here in front of the tree, I plan to clear out all of the thorny plants (raspberries included).  In their place, I hope to plant some grasses, wildflowers, maybe a few shrubs or smaller bushes, and probably a few sunflowers.  I'm not sure exactly what the mix will be or how it will be laid out - I'm waiting for the snow to thaw to get a good look at the yard again - but that's the working idea.

The first phase of the project was covered on Tuesday...clearing out the old to make room for the new.

Of course, this isn't the only wildflower patch in the yard.  There's also a relatively large area of wildflowers in the back center of the yard.  In summer and through much of the fall, I found it to be healthily full of a variety of wildflowers.

It's not all flowers, though.  There's a small fallen tree (as well as some tree stumps and logs) that I have to decide whether to keep or not.  An advantage is that the birds can sit on the branches and have their pick of whatever food the flowers provide.  And I suppose it looks somewhat natural this way...but if I get the fallen tree out of the way, there will be room for more wildflowers.

But it's not all wildflowers and fallen trees, either.  Raspberry plants, aggressive as they are, have put down roots here as well (see the purple cane shooting straight up in the photo below).  Early in the spring, before the other vegetation sprouts up, I'm hoping to pull out many of the raspberries to make room for more wildflowers.  

The plan for this wildflower patch for this year is to remove some raspberries and other thorny plants, but to otherwise let things grow naturally.  I have enough other stuff to attend to around the yard.  After a full year of seeing this area in action, I can better decide if I like it the way it is.  In the fall, the wildflowers died off to make way for this year's batch. Next year, they may be making way for a new and improved wildflower patch...or maybe just more of the same. 

To close the post, here's a look at the whole backyard.  The wildflower patch that I'm planning to re-do this year is in front of and mostly behind the pine tree at the right of the photo below.  The other wildflower patch, which I'm not planning to do too much with this year, sits at the back center of the photo.  Beyond it, of course, are the creek and the dock.

Tomorrow, Looking Ahead Week continues...

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