Cottage Wildflower Garden Update

A few (cottage) seasons ago I told you about my plans for a wildflower garden at our cottage. This is an update…

The first set of evergreens (pine and spruce) we planted a few seasons ago have grown even though gypsy moths have persistently tried to hamper their survival.

cottage wildflower garden backdrop of newly planted evergreens
Spruce and pines

The most recent set are coming along well too; they love the full sun and lots of space to grow…

cottage wildflower garden backdrop of newly planted evergreens
Newest evergreen plantings

After a few arguments with hubby over what grass to cut (he likes the manicured city lawn look, I prefer a more natural look here) we compromised with some of each. To mark my territory of where I want the cottage wildflower garden, I trampled down the grass to create a “line” he was not to cross with the lawnmower. You can barely see it on the right side of this picture, but he saw it and that’s what counts.

Cottage Wildflower Garden outline
Wildflower ridge…coming soon!

The area is not very garden-friendly, sloped with sandy soil enhanced (not) with salt and bits of gravel from the road.

Cottage Wildflower Garden inhabitants
Wildflower ridge coming soon!

Unfortunately many of the seeds I spread over the past few seasons migrated to the designated lawn area. The soil is very sandy in this neck of the woods, so removing the errant plants and transplanting them to wildflower ridge was easy.

Wildflower ridge is now chock full of daisies, black-eyed susans, malva, white and pink achilea, Queen Anne’s lace, viper’s bugloss, and milkweed. My cottage wildflower garden is coming to life!

The milkweed attracts monarch butterflies. They lay eggs on the leaves which hatch into caterpillars (you can see 2 in the picture above) which in turn morph into more monarch butterflies.

Next to come (from my gardens) are monarda (AKA beebalm), phlox and flax, perhaps coneflowers and butterfly weed.

The next spot I plan to transform is the shadier slope at the water’s edge. Stay tuned for more details on that project!

This is a much shadier site, so will require some research to find suitable new occupants.

Please let me know if you can think of any other plants I can add to either site. I prefer natural looking (no city slickers allowed) perennials.

I am hoping the bees and butterflies like my cottage wildflower gardens as much as I do!

Drought tolerant perennials

Drought tolerant perennials are popular these days, especially with those of you in the midst of a heatwave as we are here in Ontario. 

Irrigation Systems

Even if you have an irrigation system, these hardy perennials should be a staple in your garden to avoid wasting your money on plants and water.  Just be sure to place the hoses or plants (whichever you install last) strategically.  For example, ornamental grasses do not appreciate wet feet.  In fact, the quickest way to kill them off is to overwater them.

Read the Labels or Research to Find Drought Tolerant Plants

One way to determine if plants (annuals or perennials) are drought resistant is to read the labels at the nurseries or stores where you purchase your plants. Some (larger) nurseries even have separate drought-tolerant sections to make your search easier. I have discovered asking nursery staff which plants are suitable is hit and miss.

Another, more proactive, plan is to research drought-resistant plants hardy to your garden zone before you head out the door to shop for plants.

Here are a few of my favourite outstanding perennials that I rely on in my gardens for hot summer color:

  • lavender
  • Russian sage
  • ornamental grasses
  • tickseed
  • stonecrop and sedum, available in multiple colors, great for hot borders
  • daisies

If you haven’t already, consider adding some to your gardens. Just be sure to wait until the heatwave is over to do so!