Flower Wall – Year 3 – Winter Sowing


March 2023
We are still in the grasp of winter here in northeastern New York State. We had a few glimpses of spring which made me want to get out and start playing in the dirt – but alas, my cat Snowball (and the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil) both saw their shadows on Groundhog Day, predicting six more weeks of winter.

White Cat with shadow.
Snowball sees his shadow. Photography © Serena Kovalosky

According to these acclaimed meteorologists, we should have one more week before spring is in the air, but it snowed this morning and there are still six inches on the ground.

My Flower Wall will just have to wait a bit more…and this might be a good thing.

To create a more robust Wall this year, I had harvested some of the seeds from the dried native plants from last season and sprinkled them around the garden in the fall, collecting the rest for planting in pots at a later date: echinacea, goldenrod, Joe Pye weed, milkweed, ironweed. Months later I discovered that, unlike many cultivars, wild northern native seeds need cold stratification for better germination. (Thanks to Johanna Garrison who suggested this article by Heather McCargo of The Wild Seed Project.)

I should have planted them last fall. But life got busy and now it’s March and late for planting. “But it’s still winter here,” I thought. Plus the seeds were stored on the porch all winter. Newly grateful to groundhogs (and a certain white cat) for an extended period of cold, I decided to take a chance, planting my wild seeds in plastic pots and lightly covering them with sand. I placed them outside and crossed my fingers in hopes that nature will be kind and bless me with at least a few new plants for my Flower Wall.

Wild plant seeds in pots.
Wild seeds planted for cold stratification before germination: Echinacea, Joe Pye Weed, Wild Bergamot, Goldenrod, Milkweed & Ironweed. Photography © Serena Kovalosky
Wild seeds in pots in winter.
Potted seeds covered with sand for cold stratification. Photography © Serena Kovalosky

So now we wait. And more snow is on the way.

In the meantime, I snapped some artful shots of the gardens in their winter coat. I had left many of the dried stalks to overwinter so I’ll know where all the plants are when they start coming up again…and where to plant more if my winter sowing is successful!

Flower Garden in Winter
Flower Garden in Winter. Photography © Serena Kovalosky
Ironweed in Winter.
Ironweed in Winter. Photography © Serena Kovalosky
Ironweed in Winter.
Ironweed in Winter. Photography © Serena Kovalosky

Enjoying the last snowflakes of winter….

SerenaK signature


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