Thursday, June 9, 2011

Life Began in a Seed Packet

Once upon a time, I lived in a tiny cottage with a tiny yard stuffed with big flowers and vegetables.  Giant pumpkins lounged on the walkways.  Grape vines clambered and climbed.  Enormous tomato plants jostled for space.  Even there, though, there was room for flowers.  For sunflowers, cosmos, lupine, and calendula.

No matter how little space I have, no matter much is eaten up by edibles, I always plant flowers.  They attract the bees, butterflies and birds, which increases both pollination of my fruits and veggies.  They provide habitat for wildlife when more and more habitat is being destroyed.  They repel pests.  And I just think that flowers look pretty - stuffed as they are amongst the vegetables and fruit tress.

I always call these flowers my pollinator garden - whether they are gathered together or strewn like beads from a broken necklace between tomatoes and peppers.  It sounds fancy, and a lot of work, and expensive.

It is none of those things.

Every spring, my pollinator garden begins from a seed packet or packets.  I chose flowers I like and I grab those butterfly or fairy garden packets at the nursery check out.  Then I rake up the soil, scratch little holes here and there and wait.

Eventually, even in cold springs like these, the flowers bloom.  The pollinators and beneficial insects come.  And life begins.

Keep growing over at the Facebook page.


Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I too started quite a few flowers from seed this spring to plant in my veggie garden. They make the garden look beautiful in addition to benefits of pollinators and beneficial insects.

Green Bean said...

Thank you for the comment, Manuela! Maybe the bugs think it looks prettier too. ;-)

Rosa said...

I have always mostrly stuck with the volunteer flowers and the perennials the house came with, but this year my son "helped" choose seeds a lot, so we have a lot more flowers - calendula, marigold, nasturtium.

My main problem with the "dotted around the garden" plan is that I don't recognize the seedlings and a lot of them get weeded up. Do you just know them, or did you find some sort of tiny seedling guide? The photos of full-size plants (usually focused on the flowers) don't help very much!

Green Bean said...

Good question, Rosa! Some weeds and some seedlings I recognize. The latter, I know cosmos, borage, calendula, sunflowers, and a few others. I often will buy a "butterfly garden" or "bring on the birds" type seed packet though that has a mix of plants - some I've never seen before. Then, I usually just wait and see what happens. Sure, there are a few weeds mixed in but I usually catch those by the time they flower and certainly before they go to seed.

Angelina said...

How timely this post is! Just yesterday my mom and were admiring this small raised bed we planted with calendula, lupine and salad burnet- it already had a volunteer California poppy in it. My mom says "I suppose we should have used this bed for more edibles" and I told her that it was perfect the way it was. I told her I always always plant lots of flowers with my fruits and vegetables because they are so beneficial and also pretty.

I actually have a very big yard for a city lot and plenty of space for flowers (and I have LOTS of them) but I'm like you, even if I had a postage stamp sized yard I would always give some space to the flowers that me and the pollinators love.

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Well, this is very inspirational. I am slowly moving towards gardening, as in 5 inches per year. Still hoping to start a few containers maybe this year. I like how you made this very simple and doable.

Thanks for the tip on the broken links - I fixed them!

Green Bean said...

@Angelina - Great minds think alike. That sounds like a wonderful bed.

@Betsy - 5 inches per year? Whoa. You're moving way too fast sister.


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