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Mr. Smarty Plants - Wildflower gardening for Henderson Co. TX

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Monday - August 10, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower gardening for Henderson Co. TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We purchased some of the Lady Bird's Legacy Wild Flower Mix and the Hummers and Singers to plant on Ranch in East Texas, Henderson County, that has Sandy Loam Soil. We would like to plant the seeds in a pasture that is a little over an acre .. my questions are below: 1. Can we mix the seeds together and plant or must we plant in separate sections/pastures? 2. We currently have Coastal Bermuda Hay production going on in the pastures, do we need to tear-up the Bermuda Hay or can we plant the seeds on top? 3. We have an irrigation system, what type of cycle do we need to have it on for watering of flowers? Low watering, heavy watering? Our goal is to have a beautiful wildflower place ASAP. Any other advice is definitely appreciated.

ANSWER:

To begin, we would like for you to read some of our How-To Articles on Large Scale Wildflower Planting. They will answer many of your questions in a more cohesive way than we probably could. The first one is "Getting Started." Next, "Meadow Gardening," which is what we think you are proposing to have, and "A Guide to Native Plant Gardening."

Now, we are going to assume you have done your assigned reading and we will try to comment in that context on the  questions you have asked.

1. While you can mix the seeds together, there are suggestions for the the best way to get even coverage over the space you have in the Meadow Gardening article above.  And that's the way it happens in Nature. Some will bloom early, some later, some are even dependant on each other for some nutrients, as in Indian paintbrushes being semi-parasitic on bluebonnets for the nitrogen that bluebonnets fix in the soil. 

2. We very much doubt that the wildflowers and the Coastal Bermuda are going to co-exist well, and the bermuda will likely prevail. Bermudagrass was introduced into the United States from Africa as forage for livestock, and has become an invasive weed, especially in the South. For background on this subject, read this University of California Integrated Pest Management article on Bermudagrass. Our article on Meadow Gardening recommends the use of grasses, but they are talking native grasses, grasses that are accustomed to the climate and soils in which they are growing. This is not a decision we could help you with, as you will have to decide which you want, pasture grass for livestock, or a wildflower meadow? If you are going to segregate them, you will first need to eliminate the bermudagrass in the area you have chosen for wildflowers. It will be persistent but at least discouraging it initially should help the wildflowers get themselves established. 

3. The wildflower meadows you see are usually irrigated by the rainfall. Of course, the poor bluebonnet showing this year and last were due to a lack of rainfall. If you have the resources to do so, you could certainly use your irrigation system to supplement the natural rainfall. Since the land is in East Texas, you could hope that there will be more consistent rain than there has been in Central Texas recently. Under those circumstances, our answer to your question would be "low watering." 

Since you should not plant wildflower seeds until Fall, hopefully after some rains, you have time to consider the material we have provided and perhaps fine-tune the direction of your plans. And don't forget, there are probably already wildflowers native to the Henderson County area growing on your property. We will list some of them, and you can watch out for them and encourage them. Follow each link to the page on that individual plant and find out if they are annual or perennial, how big they get, when they bloom and so forth.

Wildflowers native to Henderson Co. Texas

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Ipomopsis rubra (standing-cypress)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet)

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Wildflowers native to Henderson Co. Texas from our Image Gallery


Achillea millefolium

Asclepias tuberosa

Castilleja indivisa

Callirhoe involucrata

Coreopsis lanceolata

Gaillardia pulchella

Ipomopsis rubra

Lobelia cardinalis

Lupinus texensis

Monarda citriodora

Oenothera speciosa

Phlox drummondii

 

 

 

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