Yes that’s what happened in the Frog & PenguINN back yard this spring. And the real beauty is that all this color came from a few boxes of assorted wildflower seeds from Dollar Tree for $1 each. And, even better – nearly all these are perennials which will keep reseeding. What could be better?
Grenville scattered boxes of seeds last year, and while we had some blooms then, this year was MUCH more colorful and overwhelming. The display has impressed quite a few neighbors who have started asking us WHAT flowers we have. Those comments got us checking every couple of days to see what’s new and then trying to ID them. Thankfully, there’s many on-line databases for wildflower information. Grenville’s collection of wildflower books help too.
The large displays seen above and below are Lance-Leaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata). This North American native has daisy-like flowers and blooms all season as long as it has lots of sunshine. It doesn’t bloom the first year, but after that watch out!
Common Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) has also seeded well displaying in varying shades of white, pink and purple. Yes, association you make between this plant and heart medication is correct. But BEWARE as the leaves, flowers and seeds of this plant are poisonous to humans and some animals due to the presence of the cardiac glycoside digitoxin and can be fatal if eaten. So look, but don’t sample.
There’s also been a colorful profusion of Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus). This self-seeding perennial is attractive to bees and butterflies.
Earlier this spring, there were lots of Cornflower/Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus (blue). To find out how this flower got its name, just click the link (it’s quite an interesting story).
Clusters of fiery orange flowers best describes Siberian Wallflower (Cheiranthus allionii) which supposedly likes shaded areas, and it definitely doesn’t get any in our yard.
Recently, Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) bloomed attracting bees and ladybugs. This plant has a mouthful of old folk names including: arrowroot, bad man's plaything, carpenter's weed, death flower, devil's nettle, eerie, field hops, hundred leaved grass, noble yarrow, nosebleed, old man's mustard, old man's pepper, seven year's love, and snake's grass.
Yellow pea or Yellow Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) is said to have medicinal use. According to history, the Mohegans of south New England used the root of wild indigo to acquire a medicine with which they washed cuts and gaping wounds; a practice followed even now
Indian Blanket/Firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) is the state wildflower of Oklahoma as of May 1986. This colorful plant is considered an annual, but will regrow the next year if the seeds fall on the ground (wonder where else they would fall?).
Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) favors night blooming. The flowers open in the early evening and wilt by noon of the following day.
We have two types of wood sorrel on the lawn – yellow and violet. Depending on your point of view this plant is a nuisance weed or colorful little wildflower. The common Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta) is often called a shamrock due to its three-leaf clover-like structure. Wood Sorrel is also known as Sleeping Beauty, Sour Trefoil, Sour Grass, Hearts, Toad-Sorrel, Lady's-Sorrel, Indian-Sorrel, Wood Sour, Hallelujah, and various other names.
Violet Wood Sorrel (Oxalis violacea) also has other names, such as Sheep Sour, Purple Wood Sour, Sour Clover, Fairy Bells, Hallelujah, Three-leaved Grass, Trinity Grass, Wild Shamrock, Purple Shamrock, Indian Lemonade, Violet Wood Sorrel. When direct sunlight strikes the leaves they fold downwards; when shade returns, the leaves reopen. The flowers also close at night.
Wood sorrel is said to have a strong lemony flavor. Sorrel comes from a French word for sour, and its family name, Oxalis, is derived from oxys, the Greek word for sharp or acidic. The flowers, leaves and bulbs of wood sorrel are edible and medicinal. The entire plant is often used in alternative medicine. A drink made from the acid leaves is said to quench thirst and allay a high fever.
If you’re managed to get this far, you know a lot more about wildflowers – at least the ones at the F&P. Wait, there’s more to come because Grenville had a few packs of wildflower seeds and was walking around the backyard today.
To be continued – as soon as more flowers bloom.