comments: 121

26CrewSelfie of my crew, by Andy

Aw, yeah, we're here. Have I ever been this tired? Shoot no. Even after Grandma Paulson's wonderful visit this past week, where I did nothing but indulge myself by going out to eat, seeing a movie, talking on the phone, sitting in my studio, surfing Pinterest, staying in bed until 7 a.m. (not sleeping mind you — sleeping only lasts until 4 a.m.), talking and eating some more, sewing, and occasionally actually working, I am tired. It feels kind of nice, to be this tired today, in the rain. I don't feel that compelled to do anything but the bare necessities, which is not how I often feel. Spring break indeed. It's lovely. I have needed it.

Amelia is walking around the house wearing her little parka, a mitten, and the oven mitt. As I was fixing dinner, she got a throw pillow from off the dining room chair and put it on the floor outside the baby gate and then laid down and put her head on the pillow and watched me. Tired boo, too! It's hard work getting up at all hours of the night.

I want to turn the raised beds in front into a mini wildflower meadow/cutting garden this summer. Do you have any suggestions? Do I buy individual seed packets (and can I start those outdoors — no room inside) or transplants at the nursery (expensive)? Do I buy one of those cans of wildflower meadow seeds and sprinkle it around? Does that just make a huge mess? (And maybe that's what I'm going for? Or not?) I want it to be easy and pretty. I want to be able to cut stuff throughout the summer, just enough for a couple of little mason jars at a time. It gets part sun, full sun, part shade, and deep shade. Everything throughout the day. I'll take any and all suggestions, if you have the energy! Thank you!

121 comments

Look at what the city plants in the medians. Those choices are usually tough as nails. They are blasted by exhaust fumes and whipped by the wind of passing cars. Our medians here in town have mounds of coral and bubblegum pink carpet roses inter-planted with Echinacea and Brown eyed Susans. Lost of spirea too. Their foliage is beautiful in spring and fall, chartreuse and copper, and their muted, dusky rose flower heads have a wistful feel of long ago gardens.

Definitely mix seed with perennials. Buy perennials you absolutely love and mix in seed you might just want to try out. Those wildflower mixes can be both a blessing and a curse. Invest in a higher quality product. A lot of them tend to fill in the blanks with grass seed and junk. Not pretty. Cosmos are always wonderful, as are zinnias, which will perform all year. The more you cut them, the more they bloom. And please keep the bees and butterflies in mind. Borage for bees, and milkweed for the monarchs, which are in dangerous decline. Can't wait to see what you do with the space!

I would recommend perennials-- buy small specimens and space them well and they will return year after year. Many perennials make wonderful cut flowers. You can fill in any spaces with a few seasonal annuals.

Oh I feel you on the tiredness! I think it's a March thing. How lovely you had some time to take care of yourself! I'm loving all the gardening advice in the comments, I may have to borrow some to help out our little spot!

Cosmos seeds scattered are wonderful . . . poppies too. Throw some zinnia seeds in and you'll be good until fall! Do you have some sun in that area?

smashing picture of the crew. yes, zinnias, but if you want a filler, not necessarily for cutting, columbines self-sow. and sow and sow. daisies take over, also. perhaps some lamb's ear at the edges for soft, grey interest. i love that you use that space, too. most people are "afraid" to. thank you.

Be careful with a wildflower mix. The previous owner of our house did that and it ended up very weedy. It took my husband and I 10 years to get it under control! Although "under control" is a matter of perspective, as I do like the wildflower look, and we have a crazy array of cosmos and black-eyed Susans by the end of summer, but those are both easy to control if you decide you don't want them any more.

Faith proctor says: March 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Cosmos, in a variety of colors
Bachelor buttons
Four o clocks...reseed nicely.
Snap dragons..will work as a perennial in your zone
Nasturim
Something that climbs...scarlet bean runner?

All of these can be started outdoors from seed....sit close by and watch them sprout. This is a lovely English garden.

Ooh, I love the idea of a cutting garden! I'm planning to rip out a disastrous corner of my garden (shade) and plant perennials, but a cutting garden sounds lovely (and less expensive).

Denise Weldon says: March 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

I have used the canned wildflower mixes and had great success. I think they throw a little fertilizer in there to get things going. Make sure it has Cosmos and Sweet William in the mix. They are so beautiful and come back year after year!!!

I've always had a lot of luck with sprinkling on the wildflower mix packets. Very low maintenance and very pretty.

I wish I had advice about the wildflowers. You'll probably have better luck with them because I live in the desert. But I've tried both seed packets and shaker-cans, and neither worked well. Never mind the seed-impregnated moss mats, which just blew away in the wind. :(

I have always loved cutting flowers from my garden......best bets for me have been zinnias (in all sizes and heights), cosmos (they will reseed themselves ), taller marigolds, oh, and if you have some shade space up against your foundation - lilly of the valley (altho' they flower in the spring, they multiply and smell just wonderful, Amelia will love them! ps..can send you some of mine if you'd like.

I have done the wildflower cans and find tht you get things in there you don't want and then can't get rid of.

Zinnias
Larkspur
Cosmos
These are self seeding and will come back for a couple of years.

Find some hollyhocks as well to go in the center. Not sure if you can grow peonies. Here in N. Texas we are not supposed to, but I can. We have some pretty cold winters and when we don't, I throw bags of ice on them once a week to make them think they are cold!

Definitely, definitely find a wildflower mix for YOUR region. Any good seed company can help with that, either online or at your local nursery that specializes in local goodness. It doesn't matter how "easy" a flower is, if it's not good for PacNW, it won't be good for you. And, as always, even wildflowers need happy soil so find some yummy compost and work it in first.

SO fun. I looooove wildy pretty flowers.

I've not had luck with seeds, so I go the pricier route, at the nursery. But it sounds like many have good ideas. By the way, your photos are simply gorgeous. And you daughter? Oh my!

Hi Alicia!

Oh yes ... the time change did a whopper on our sleep patterns here too. I'm walking in a fog. Shouldn't be driving really. Fingers crossed that this passes soon for both of us! On the flower front, Dahlias were mentioned as a full proof and wonderful cutting flower and I would heartily agree with that. We have about 10 different kinds in our yard and they are the stars of our little street corner. They last so long when cut too - very hardy and so bright and cheery and the color range is outstanding.

I have a question for you ... I'm looking for rain boots to fit my Hazel's little feet (16 months old) and I saw Amelia with the sweetest yellow rain boots and jacket. Could you share with me where you found those. Do the boots fit Mimi's feet well? Thank you! xoxo
Happy resting wherever and whenever you find it.


I think you can make a great wildflower looking garden but please don't scatter seeds and please don't use those can things. Use flowers that are antique and wild looking, like cosmos, sweet peas, daisies, etc. The wildflower gardens that come from the can, etc., look so horrid when they die back and I don't think you'd be very happy. You want to control the wild, in a way. If you had a big meadow that'd be one thing. But, you have this small space that you're trying to make the prettiest thing ever!!!!

This year will be my third on a 'Bloom' project. I'm a huge Sarah Raven fan like a couple of other commenter's and as I'm in the UK have been to her amazing garden.

I agree with the scattering of seed doens't work too well but having said that I am going to try it one more time with a seed mix but also Nigella and Cornflowers. I also love Calendula (English marigolds) and sunflowers and sweet peas and......

Good luck with this floral project I look forward to seeing the results.

Love that baby/toddler girl! Such a blessing...as to your flower bed, a really full flower garden needs sun ALL DAY. Sounds like you have part sun, on average. Go to YOUR local garden center/nursery and ask them what they suggest. Choose accordingly. Local nurseries are wonderful resources...best to stay away from the Home Depot type stores for advice. And my best advice? PREPARE YOUR SOIL.

they are adorable! love a selfie. I wish I had luck with seeds but generally don't. zinnias, cone flowers, shastas, small sunflowers, delphiniums, rudbeckia, all work well as cut flowers and I just throw caution to the wind and buy some small plants...add some greenery (hostas) which look pretty with flowers and you're on your way. of course, you can always do both seeds and plants...next fall, if you've enjoyed the flowers, you can do bulbs and not have to worry with it!

Plant some perrenials: poppies, lavender, annabelle hydrangea and peonies are good options. Sprinkle wildflowers among them - my favourites are: zinnia, snapdragons, daisies, asters (most have already been suggested by others). Just thinking of this brings a smile. Happy gardening, Alicia.

my friend did cosmos, just stunning, tones of flowers, and why kill yourself with the effort - and cost - of lots of other stuff, when en-masse can look so lovely?
(I can't wait to see the flowers in your beautiful home ;o)

As others have mentioned, Zinnias and Cosmos are easy to grow from seed. We (living in the Midwest) usually plant them on Mother's Day weekend, and have cuttings throughout the Summer into early Fall. We order our seeds from rareseeds.com and have always been pleased. They will be happy in full sun. For part shade you could plant some Annabelle Hydrangea bushes if you want something permanent (although they can be transplanted easily too). They provide large white mophead flowers that are beautiful cut as well.

Hi Alicia :)
We like to choose individual envelopes of flowers that we like, and then dump them all into my parmesan cheese server jar (a glass jar with a screw-on lid with big holes in it) and shake all the seeds together and sprinkle them out into the soil. This way we get the exact flowers we want without the ugly fill flowers they put in some of the meadow seed mixes, but they look happy and spontaneous this way. And it's a little easier than sowing each envelope individually and trying to make sure you've spread them around evenly-ish.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.