Monday, April 24, 2006

Free Wildflowers

By Christina VanGinkel

My husband, son, and I visited a home and garden show over the weekend. It was held in a large arena and had displays from various businesses around the area, both traditional and home based. My husband was not at the show for five minutes when he found the table he went there specifically to see, a display of chain saws from a dealer that up until recently had not been selling in our area. I can only listen to so much chain saw talk, so after a few minutes I told my husband I would find him in a bit and I took a walk around some of the nearby displays.

There were many for home improvements, such as window and siding displays, decking, and outdoor furnaces. There were also several displays for outdoor fun including campers and four-wheel vehicles. Several businesses that did not fit any one category, but that must have felt the exposure at such a show would be good for business, such as one woman that was selling handcrafted candles and soaps were also present. Alongside of many were a scattering of realtors and displays from the National Guard and the Army.

As I wandered amongst the tables, I picked up a bag that one of the realty tables was offering for people to carry around the many freebies that were being offered at various tables, including pencils and pens with business names on them, free sunglasses for the kids, a pizza cutter, and from another realtor, a pack of wildflower seeds!

After I wandered around for a while, I headed back to the chainsaw display where my husband was winding up his examination of a new saw and had ordered several bars and chains for one of the two that he currently used at work. We then the three of us, my husband, son and I, walked around the show together, past many of the same display I had already checked out, plus stopping at two businesses that sold NASCAR collectibles. We managed to get another pack of wildflower seeds from another realtor, so ended up with two mini sized Ziploc bags of wildflower seeds.

When we arrived home, my husband and I decided we should scatter them right away, before they were tossed into the junk drawer, or ended up in the trash in one of my speed cleans of the kitchen counter. We had just cleared an area next to shed on the outside area of our yard and garden. We had planted a few pine trees there a few years before, and while a few of them were living and thriving, several others had been mowed off. We had just decided that we should not mow the area this year. It was far enough out that it could be left in its natural state, giving the remaining pine trees a chance to continue to grow, and not meet the demise of the ones before them that were inadvertently mowed off. We raked up the ground around the trees, pulled some patches of longer weeds that had sprung up from who knows where, and added a bit of fertilized topsoil to the mix of sparse ground that was between a few of the trees. We then scattered the wildflowers all around the area and watered it lightly. If they take and grow I have not a clue, but I will let you know. I have had some luck in years past with scattering wildflowers in similar areas. They never grow up tick, but enough that they create a pleasant looking diversion to an otherwise barren area.

If you have an awkward little piece of land that is out of the way and you are not sure what to do with it, pick up a pack or two of wildflowers, the sort that is meant to be scattered, and this summer you might be enjoying a little spot of beauty instead of bemoaning the fact that the area is devoid of color or usefulness. Until we decide what to do with the area, and the trees grow a bit bigger, this is as good a solution as some of the others we had thought of, such as fencing it off and just letting it grow wild. At least this wild will have a bit of color!

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