By Gaston Tessier
Many of us, while enjoying a walk in the country, have come upon an open meadow filled with beautiful wild flowers or the entrance to a forest covered with delicate ferns and shade plants. These magical encounters always leave me with one thought, "This is what I would like for my garden."
I agree that it is lovely, but it is not as easily done as you might imagine. If you are committed to recreating these landscapes in your garden, please consider the following information before embarking on your project.
Healthy plants growing in the wild have been there for many centuries. In this time, they have thoroughly adapted to their surrounding environment. The soil is of the proper pH and right porosity to enable them to develop strong root systems to feed themselves. They can survive on normal rainfall alone. Their roots are receiving just the right amount of humidity. The available light is exactly what they need to manufacture enough food to produce seeds and propagate. They have also learned to survive with the local critters feeding on them through the seasons. Herbicides and pesticides are unknown to them. If they are moved to another habitat that does not provide these same growing conditions, however, they will not survive.
Wild plants should never be removed from the wild. Instead, they should be purchased from a reliable nursery that grows them from seed. Some may be rescued from development sites, if you first receive permission from the landowner.
You should never expect to duplicate in its entirety what it took Mother Nature thousands of years to achieve. If you create the proper habitat, however, you will be able to grow some of the wildflowers you have seen on your walks. The results you can accomplish will be pleasing and very rewarding. In my own garden, I find the addition of a few naturalized species has added a finishing touch to my new wilderness setting.
By Gaston Tessier