When it comes to a wildflower garden, we need to manage expectations, says Scott Evans, horticulture program coordinator for the Nebraska Extension of Douglas-Sarpy Counties.

“We often get people who think that you can throw out seeds and walk away and by magic you get a prairie planting,” he said. “This is not the case.”

His tips:

  • Start small. Pick a location with full sun to part shade. “Ideally, the spot should receive at least six to seven hours of uninterrupted direct sunlight,” Evans said.
  • If starting from seed, the existing plant life needs to be killed off, either chemically or manually. If it is turf, rent a sod cutter or use a drain tile shovel to remove the sod. Tilling the soil is not recommended because it brings dormant seeds to the surface.
  • Choose a wildflower seed mix that is local. “We were once a prairie state, and up to 80% of the flora was grasses,” Evans said. “Choose a mix that has low-growing native grasses along with annual and perennial flowers. We want regionally native plants that are adapted to our weather.”
  • Toss the seeds out and cover with a light layer of compost or even burlap. The seeds will need to keep damp.
  • Consider butterfly milkweed, plains coreopsis, purple coneflower, dwarf goldenrod, hoary vervain, dotted gayfeather, blue flax, Tennessee coneflower, liatris and ironweed.

10 plants to think about putting in your garden this year

Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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