The Scree

Boy, it was a hot one this week! But, while we were melting, the scree garden flourished.

The Wildflower Farm’s scree garden was built using large boulders, gravel, and sand.  The plants that thrive there need no water and love the sun.  As an added bonus, they’re perennials that will survive our Canadian winters.

Step 1 - moving big rocks into scree

The first step was building the base. Large boulders are placed using the tractor and finagled until the size and shape was just right.

If you have, or want, a rock garden, these are the plants you’ll want to add.  Like many wildflowers sold at the Wildflower Farm, you’ll need to start these seeds in the fall.

Pasque Flower

You’ve seen this here before.  It’s one of my favourites and is the first to bloom in the spring scree.  Not only are the purple (or white) flowers luxurious to look at, the seed heads are incredibly intricate. Not to mention, incredible important food for the early spring pollinators.

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Pasque flower in the early spring scree garden.

Prairie Smoke

While the Pasque Flower is going to seed, Prairie Smoke is opening up.  A tiny red flower that puts on a heck of a show come summer.  The name “Prairie Smoke” is fitting.

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Prairie Smoke blossoms turn into delicate-looking whisps, resembling smoke from a distance.

Blue Flax

Flax seed is all the rage these days and your rock garden could use some, too. The bright blue flowers sit atop a skinny stem that reaches up to two feet in height. En masse, they are a burst of colour you don’t often find in the garden (blue isn’t the most common of flower colours).

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Blue Flax – eye-popping blue colour.

Harebell

The Wildflower Farm’s scree garden has a few patches of this light purple cup-shaped flower.  In my garden at home, they just showed up.  Content to grow right next to a cedar bush and a rock pile. The smaller bees and flies love to crawl inside the flower and I’ve often seen them take shelter during the rain.

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Harebell will flower all summer. Re-blooming over and over again to provide delicate colour to the driest of gardens.

Winecups

For areas that need more of a cover, give winecups a try.  They are a bit slow to start but once they get going, you’re in for a treat! At the Wildflower Farm’s scree garden, they are known as the sea of mallow. And it’s easy to see why.

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Bonus: blooms all summer.

Dotted Mint

One of the most interesting wildflowers to look at: it really doesn’t seem like it belongs in North America, let alone Canada. But, alas, it lives, and thrives, here.  This flower will provide a focal point in the late summer scree.

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Perfect for the hot, dry landscape of the Wildflower Farm Scree Garden. A butterfly favourite.

If you have a dry, sunny spot where nothing seems to grow, give some of these a try. You’ll be surprised at just how much colour and interest you can add to a space you thought would be barren forever.

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