What is a rainbow? We see an arc of color. Notice we said "see?" From our ground-level perspective, a rainbow appears to be a semi-circle. But if you were in a plane looking down, you would see a full circle with the center point opposite the sun. When we see a rainbow, we are seeing sunlight, which is reflected at 42 degrees back into our eyes. The reflection is what causes the shape of the rainbow.
The colors of the rainbow are refractions. A refraction is when white light is bent entering a drop of water in the air after a rainfall or a garden hose being sprayed. From the outside in, we see red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Different cultures see rainbows (the 42-degree refraction reflection) as signs of hope, promise, good luck, and new beginnings.
START WILDFLOWERS FOR SPRING
Have you gone to the nursery and picked up your preferred wildflower seeds? Do you have some you saved from earlier this year? Did your neighbor give you some after you complimented their blooms?
First, we need to have a site selected. Please make sure that the site you decide upon will support vegetation now, a site that drains well. In other words, don’t try to plant seeds in the middle of solid rock and expect a miracle. Once you have the site selected then the next thing to do is remove the vegetation that is on location at the time you want to plant. This is done by mowing the site, being careful to remove the clippings. Next is to either lightly till the area (or rake the area), but only about an inch deep. Seeds planted at a depth of one-sixteenth of an inch will give you much better plants and blooms.
Prepare the seeds. Mix them with inert material such as masonry sand, perlite, potting soil, etc. Wild Seed Farms recommend a minimum of four parts inert material to one part seeds. Broadcast half of the mixture as evenly as you can, then broadcast the other half perpendicular to the first. Press the seeds into the prepared soil by walking or rolling over the newly planted area. Again, don’t plant the seeds deeper than one-sixteenth of an inch. Some of the seeds are going to remain visible.
Another option, which is not quite exact, is to throw your seeds out after a rainfall or watering. If you are not particular about where exactly your wildflowers grow, this is a simple alternative.
Do NOT fertilize where you are going to be planting or scattering bluebonnet seeds. Please learn from our mistakes. Dad thought he would be kind to the soil and fertilized his 2-acre bluebonnet field. The following spring, perhaps 10 as opposed to the usual 1000 bluebonnets sprouted (this happened before the drought). Daughter learned from Dad’s mistake.
We choose this time to throw/plant wildflower seeds because the songbirds have left and the majority of the winter guests have arrived. Hence, not as many seeds are consumed and redistributed. If you are not ready to plant your wildflower seeds at this time, no worries. In January, we’ll tell you about some tricks for mimicking winter stratification.
Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden!
Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1
"In the Garden" is written by daughter-father gardening team Martelle and Bill Luedecke. If you have gardening questions, contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Bill at 512-577-1463 or email@example.com. Read more "In the Garden" columns in the 101 Lawn & Garden Guide.