In the spring of 2016 we took on the project of bringing bees and butterflies back to the ranch in the area around the pond. That area continued to get steeper and steeper making it more dangerous to mow. With some help we got the idea to naturalize it with wildflower. Naturalizing with wildflower would make the steep bank easier to mow (because we wouldn’t need to mow), attract pollinators (bees and butterflies) and serve as a nice backdrop for the outdoor weddings here in the spring and fall. We started late in 2016 to clear out the grass, crabgrass and any weeds around the pond. In order to establish the wildflower the area needed to be down to bare soil. We scraped and raked and finally got the seed, but it was too late in the year and the ground was too warm to plant. So the pond sat all year with dirty, nasty soil and weeds all summer season.In fall we went in again with round up to kill off the vegetation and rake out all the dead vegetation to plant the wildflower seeds. 

The fall of 2016, we planted blackeyed Susan, common milkweed, purple praire clover, Canadian milvetch, partridge pea, swamp milkweed, bergamont, purple coneflower, yellow coneflower and a variety of cornflower. Shortly after planting the rains came, and it poured! the pond flooded and we thought well,  there goes all the seed, gone!  We would have to Start over in the spring of 2017.

When the spring of 2017 came, we noticed a lot of growth, which did not appear to be just crabgrass and weeds.  There was actually some wildflowers growing! Success! IT looked great, especially for thinking we lost it all because of the flooding. As the season progressed, so did the flowers and the pond looked great.

Then we noticed very fast growing plants.  We were not sure what it was, but we kept watching for flowers, and looking online for leaf references to flowers. Then I notice other farm ground with the same growth and we were beginning to wonder; are these weeds? Or are they part of the flower pack to help hold up the other wildflower? The wildflower is so delicate and the stems so thin that the wind and play of the farm cats were just knocking them over.  These tall, fast growing wildflower were there to hold them up.  Somewhere we read Weeds are just unwanted wildflower.  These things grew to 7 feet tall and had no flowers.

We finally decided these are weeds and they have to go! But how?  We couldn’t hit them with weed killer because they are so close to the actual wildflower we don’t want to kill the wild flower.  Using the Stihl Weed Whacker with Blades won’t work effectively since again, the wildflower are intermingled with all these ginormous WEEDS! We were told because of the unusual wet year we had, these hybrid Thistle thrive in this type of weather, along with all those other ugly fuzzy weeds. So the only thing we could do was take on these weeds by hand.   After 40 hours of pulling, digging, hedge trimming, we have made some progress.

The ground isn’t as nice as it was in the spring, but now neighbors and travelers can see the flowers around the pond and we pray next spring for more wildflowers from the seeds of this year’s plants and less weeds. Contact us if you are looking for info or want to stop out and see the pond area. Or, call us if you have some better ideas on weed control until we get it all flowers. Love to hear from you.