Gardening With A Wild Heart - Judith Lowry's Blog

Wildflowers as Medicine; Baby-Blue-Eyes

To paraphrase a poem that my brother used to recite, breathes there anybody with soul so dead as not to love baby-blue-eyes, Nemophila menziesii? It's getting to be time to sow the seed of this annual wildflower. Low-growing, good for the front of the flower border, and stunning in containers, baby blue eyes is a universal favorite. It can be sown this time of the year in the midwest and east coast; Californians and West Coasters would have to supply the necessary irrigation for germination and early growth, and a part-shade spot would be preferable. My large mass of nemophilas, blooming full on in May 17, was sown in late January, here on the north-central coast.

Five spot, Nemophila maculata, is closely related, differing by only one gene, and is equally delightful; there is no choosing between the two. With their lax stems, they both like to be somewhat crowded, so as to clamber over each other. Use wide and not too deep containers for these shorter wildflowers, no deeper than one foot.

Gathering the Seed Harvest 2015


This year brought an abundant harvest of the annual wildflower hayfield tarweed, Hemizonia congesta ssp. lutescens, growing in such pure and extensive masses that we were able to gather it in a modern imitation of the time-honored indigenous way - substituting tennis racquet for a seed-beater, and stainless steel bowl for gathering basket. We learned some fascinating lessons about this ancient way of harvesting wild seeds. At the same time, we gathered other species growing with tarweed and setting seed at the same time, which includes one native grass, meadow barley, one perennial wildflower, blue-eyed grass, and two more annuals, dwarf plantain and sky lupine.

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