A Profusion of Posies
Watch for the wildflowers at Scio Church and S. Main
by Bob & Jorja Feldman
From the July, 2017 issue
Last spring and summer, the area around the southwest corner of Scio Church and S. Main underwent a transformation. The landscape burst into a profusion of posies: elbow-to-elbow wildflowers sprang up in a mixed bouquet of sparkling colors.
We took these photos last July, but the flowers this year should be even denser and more colorful. Last year was the first for this garden as currently constituted, so annuals alone bloomed in 2016. But about half of the garden was planted in perennials, and those too should bloom this year.
This mass of eye candy is the work of dentist Donald Wennersten, who prepped, tilled, and planted it alongside his office. The seeds were a Midwest wildflower mix obtained from AmericanMeadows.com. There are twenty-eight species in the mix. Our photos feature small blue bachelor buttons and large wild sunflowers. Whether you see these flowers or others will depend on when you look.
After sowing seed, Wennersten hand-watered his garden. When Bob walked the property with Wennersten, the dentist was pulling weeds as they went. Rewarding his efforts, they saw honeybees working, a monarch butterfly floating lazily around them, and, at the western end of the garden, goldfinches busy feeding.
Bob, in his naivete, asked Wennersten: how do you know what grows where and how much of each flower shows up and when does it come up? Wennersten patiently explained: Its a mix, its random; the flowers grow where they have found food and footing in the soil.
Do something different, he advises. Try to let nature tell you what it wants. He hopes others are inspired to try wildflower mixes, and he glories in the fan mail hes received. Hes also noticed an increase in car horns blowing at the corner. Are they blowing because drivers turning right on Main have stopped to look at the flowers? Or are they blowing in appreciation? Research at Rutgers University has found that flowers have an immediate positive effect on happiness and a lasting positive effect on moods, evoke feelings of compassion, relieve the blues, and give people a physical and psychological lift.
We cannot say whether the science just described is good science. But we can say that a walk or drive past Wennerstens wildflower garden is a pleasure worth pursuing.
[Originally published in July, 2017.]
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