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Mr. Smarty Plants - Preparation for wildflower meadow at elementary school

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Saturday - August 04, 2007

From: Southlake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Preparation for wildflower meadow at elementary school
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am a Scout working on starting a wildflower meadow at an Elementary school. How should I prepare the ground and what types of seeds do well in zipcode area 76092? I would also like so add some native shrubs that would be useful as food for local birds. Thank you.

ANSWER:

This sounds like a great project. Mr. Smarty Plants recommends first that you visit our "How to Articles". There are several articles there that have useful information for you; for instance, "Wildflower Meadow Gardening", "Creating a Wildlife Garden", and "Large Scale Wildflower Planting". These articles will tell you how to plan and execute your project. One of the recommendations in "Wildflower Meadow Gardening" is that you include native grasses with your wildflowers. Quoting from the article:

"Most meadow and prairie managers recommend that native grasses make up 50 to 80 percent of the meadow species. Grasses have several functions:
• they provide support and protection for tall flowers;
• they fill in spaces around wildflowers otherwise occupied by weeds;
• they add color and texture to the landscape;
• they prevent soil erosion; and
• they to provide food and cover for wildlife."

Here are some recommendations for grasses and wildflowers native to Tarrant County, Texas:

Grasses

Aristida purpurea (purple threeawn)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss)

Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass)

Muhlenbergia reverchonii (seep muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Wildflowers

Callirhoe involucrata (winecup)

Calylophus berlandieri (Berlandier's sundrops)

Castilleja indivisa (Indian paintbrush)

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Delphinium carolinianum (Carolina larkspur)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain)

Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower)

Liatris mucronata (cusp blazing star)

Lupinus texensis (Bluebonnet)

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Oenothera speciosa (pink evening primrose)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Ruellia nudiflora (violet wild petunia)

Salvia azurea (azure blue sage)

Thelesperma filifolium (stiff greenthread)

You may not be able to readily find seeds for all of the ones listed above but you should be able to find most of them. There are also other possibilities for both wildflowers and grasses. Whichever ones you decide to use, you will need to find a source that specializes in native seeds and/or plants. You can see a list of these in our National Suppliers Directory. One excellent source for native Texas seeds on the list is Native American Seed in Junction. They even have several wildflower and wildflower/grass mixes that might be ideal for your project (e.g., Native Trail Mix, Wichita Mix, Native Texas Mix). You should begin preparing your meadow for sowing seeds in the fall.

Mr. Smarty Plants wishes you very good luck on your project!


Callirhoe involucrata

Calylophus berlandieri

Castilleja indivisa

Coreopsis tinctoria

Delphinium carolinianum

Gaillardia pulchella

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Helianthus maximiliani

Liatris mucronata

Lupinus texensis

Monarda citriodora

Oenothera speciosa

Rudbeckia hirta

Ruellia nudiflora

Salvia azurea

Thelesperma filifolium

 

 

 

 

 

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