FROM 2020: Mike's Guide to Starting a Wildflower Patch (Even if You Are Insanely Lazy)

Hey everyone, Mike here. Since I run a company people assume I must be a hard-charging go-getter. But I've spent a lot of my life avoiding work (this current quarantine-situation actually kind of fits my lifestyle!). So the fact that I have a wildflower patch in my front yard lets you know that wildflower patches can be for lazy people too! In fact, the wildflower patch I've got saves me mowing time. 

The great thing about nature, is that you can do A LOT to help nature by doing nothing at all. Just stopping chemical use on your property does wonder for pollinators! So, if you put nothing at all on your property all year, you've already done your part (thank you for your service). 

If you are slightly less lazy, you could spend part of an afternoon digging holes in your grass and planting clover. Then mow less frequently to let the clover flower. It's a ground cover, it looks great, and pollinators love it. 

If you wanna go hog-wild on creating a wildflower patch in your yard, but are STILL lazy, then below are some simple steps. 

Now, keep in mind, this is the insanely lazy guide. There are plenty of resources online for people who want to put in more effort or curate their patch a more.  

1) March-thru-November: Lay down a tarp on your grass. Pick the spot in your yard and put down a tarp. You'll want to stake it down. The summer heat will fry the grass underneath, kill the weeds, etc. Just having the tarp saves you some mowing time this year, you won't have to use any chemicals to kill the grass, and the tarp will make it look to your neighbors like you are planning a serious gardening project. 

2) November (just before first snow): Remove tarp and throw some native seeds on the dirt. Around November, take your tarp off. You should have a totally brown patch of dirt now. You can rake it to break up the dirt, then spread out the seeds. Make sure to use a native plant mix (order online or grab at a garden center). If you do it just before a first snow, the snow will hold the seeds down in the dirt. 

3) Second Spring: Stuff Starts Growing! Yessir, the power of nature. Right around this time next year, you'll see things starting to bud. If you are a go-getter, you can pull any weeds coming up (9 months of tarp should keep it moderately weed-free, though). If you're lazy, just let nature run its course. 

4) Rest of Year: ENJOY NOT MOWING & MAJESTIC BEAUTY! Stuff grows and grows, new flowers bloom in summer, fall. Butterflies love it, bees love it, you don't have to mow that section. With native plants, you shouldn't have to water, you can just let them live in the environment they love. 

5) Second Winter: Just Let It Go Brown. You could mow your patch after the fall, or you could just let nature run its course and let it go brown. Your plants will seed on their own, some bees can burrow in the dirt, birds will like the shelter. 

6) Third Spring: Mow or Cut it Down. In March of the third spring, you can mow, weed-whack, or cut your patch down. This year, your wildflower patch should come back bigger and better than ever! 

Now, there are more ins-and-outs-and-what-have-you's to wildflowers. There is a lot more you can learn about pesticides versus herbicides and their impacts on bees, pollinator habitats, etc. If you want to get more advanced, there are lots of ways and plenty of resources online (or at your local greenhouse).

But if you want to start a wildflower patch and are also lazy, a tarp and some native seeds are all you need!