Ditch Flowers – From Dark Days to a Wildflower Bonanza

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 Our home in the middle of a marsh or maybe it actually qualified as a small lake?

Those of you who have followed this blog or its predecessor, The Small House Under a Big Sky.wordpress.com might remember my post about our years of ground water flooding. It was a very stressful time for me in which after four years of serious flooding, I began to despair over ever having my old life back.

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We lost our trees so that these cement drainage pipes could be put in to move the water away.

Not only did we lives in a marsh of mosquitoes for months at a time and had to wear full mosquitos gear (face nets, gloves, long pants and sleeves and knee-high boots) to go outside and walk our dogs. We lost thousands of dollars of perennials, shrubs, fruit trees, and personal belongings from our pole barn and the cement foundation in our barn due to flood pressure. (No, nothing is covered by insurance in high ground water flooding situations.)

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The roadway beside our home. You can see why we had no choice in order to save our home!

And we had to pump out our crawl space, 24/7 for months at a time and someone had to be home at all times and that someone was often me. I was not sleeping and when I did drift off in exhaustion, I would wake at night after having nightmares of my home floating away in flood. I also became very sick from the high levels mold and mildew in our leaf mold mulch surround our homestead.  And we could not plant our vegetable garden for four springs and when we finally could, I found all of our good soil washed away. Please believe me when I say, it was a totally depressing period!

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The flood at its peak covered our sidewalk, killed our crabapple tree and rotted hundred of daffodil bulbs planted below it.

Prior to the ditch being dug and our beloved 100-year-old trees cut down to make way for big equipment (I cried!) I had to dig up and pot hundreds of plants and keep them alive for two years until they could be replanted. Many, like the native deep-rooted purple lupines cannot be transplanted and all were lost. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Twenty-five-feet of our trees and shrubs had to be removed to make way for the ditching project and the heavy equipment it took to do the work.

My gardening style is loose, full and cottage like – no perfectly groomed rows of shrubs for me. I prefer native plants as pollinators because its better for the ecosystem and because they just live better with less work and less watering needed.

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This is my wild  & flowing cottage gardening style next to the driveway of our 1950’s ranch style home.

Once the ditches were installed they were so barren and ugly I cried, again. I missed my majestic White Oak trees, dogwoods, lupines and my beautiful yard and garden. At that point I was willing to try anything to boost my spirits.

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This is our wood lot where we had many native dogwood trees that bloom each spring. This tree line was so beautiful in the early spring but they are all gone now due to the counties easement area of 25 feet to make way for the ditches.

In desperation I began to throw wildflowers seeds into the ditch a section at a time. I have a lot of Brown Eyed Susan’s that I cut back in the fall so these became one of the primary seeds that I threw into the ditch. Any seeds that might take were thrown into the ditch several years running.

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 The Brown-Eyed Susan’s and wild carrots, goldenrod and others plants ablaze in our ditch.

This is the result of that Johnny Appleseed approach to making the ditch prettier!  After the darkest of days comes…a wildflower bonanza!

Small House Homestead and gardener, Donna

House -ditch Black Eyed Susans

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