Hello, friends. And happy Valentine's Day :)
Chocolates may not last all year, but these flowers can! And I'll leave this page up for you nerds who want more detailed planting info, or identification of which types of blooms are sprouting.
Each packet has approx. 10 square feet of flower. So you can border a small section of the house, or plant a patch of color.
For you gardeners, these can also help vegetable gardens. Integrated Pest Management programs (environmentally-friendly ways of reducing pests -- and our use of pesticides) suggest planting a border of flowers around your prized dahlias, or vegetables, as a protective moat. If/when pests do creep into your garden, they may distract themselves and gorge on dinner here instead. That means you can also check your border flowers for early signs of pests -- and stop them before before they reach your veggies.
If you don't have a garden, you can still make bees and humans happy: give this packet to someone who does, or plant it in a public space. Just find a patch of dirt that gets decent drainage and sunshine.
It's also balanced to include:
Beneficial insect-friendly flowers like alyssum and marigolds. Beneficial insects are the "good bugs" that eat the "bad bugs." Like lady bugs who eat aphids. Planting more host plants for 'beneficials' (also called 'biological controls', vs. a 'chemical control') is also a great part of an IPM program.
Pollinator-friendly flowers like calendula and echinacea. They provide homes and sweet nectar and pollen that bees, butterflies, and birds love. Pollinators help 80% of the US's flowering plants reproduce. 'Colony collapse' and the declining bee population is partially a result of disappearing habitat. We can help by planting more flowers across our cities, suburbs and countryside.
Milkweed for monarch butterflies, who use it as a home to lay eggs for their caterpillar babies. (Don't worry, they'll eat the milkweed, not your vegetables.) They also face habitat destruction across the country. So your little backyard home gives them one more place to land along their journey.
Extra bonus care info:
When to plant? After the last frost. For you Californians who never have frost, plant toward the end of the rainy season. So your seeds get a few natural showers, but aren't drenched.
Where to plant? The sunniest spot possible! Or wherever makes you happy. (Seriously, it's a mix: shade-friendly plants are included too. Your mix just loves sunshine most of all.) Southern friends have wetter summers: try to pick a spot with some drainage. These ain't Delta rice patties; flowers don't like sitting submerged for too long.
Clear away weeds and other growth before sowing seeds. The better you prep their home, the more your plants will grow. It's not essential, but reducing weed competition means your little seedlings can more easily find the light, and don't have to fight the bigger guys for resources like soil nutrients and water.
Fertilizing is optional but not necessary. That's why I picked wildflowers for you. They grow in the wild...so you can ignore them, and they should grow in the wilds of your own backyard, too.
Annuals and perennials are both included. Even if you do nothing, they'll reseed themselves in that spot, and some will grow next year.
Pick flowers often! It's actually good for them.
Share the experience of both gardening and picking flowers with friends, neighbors & kids! Perhaps next year I'll provide kid-friendly explanations of the above, but for now I trust you to translate ;)
All these flowers will grow well across the country, are resilient in a variety of environments, and make people smile -- like you.
Much love to you and yours --
Southern friends: bachelor buttons, dwarf cornflower, tall cornflower, red corn poppy, mixed red poppy, California poppy, African daisy, lemon mint, baby's breath, blanketflower, black eyed Susan, Gloriosa daisy, wild perennial lupine, Russel lupine, plains coreopsis, Siberian wallflower, five spot nemophilia, lance-leaf coreopsis, drummond phlox, toadflax, blue flax, scarlet flax, purple coneflower (echinacea), sulphur/orange cosmos, wild cosmos, sweet alyssum.
Yankee friends (that's Northeasterners, Californians, and ALL y'all who live anywhere other than the South): bachelor buttons, Sunshine cosmo mix, gayfeather, baby's breath, blanketflower, New England aster, Siberian wallflower, Mexican hat, Shasta daisy, black eyed Susan, Sweet William, white yarrow, milkweed, dwarf lance-leaf, dwarf evening primrose, blue flax, chicory, coreopsis, columbine, lupine, prairie coneflower, purple coneflower (echinacea).