Want to sow some wildflowers like a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, traveling about, tossing seeds to the wind and leaving a colorful trail of flowers in your path?
Sounds romantic. But the realities of sowing wildflower seeds, especially California's versions, are quite different than the storybook fantasies. Forget about tossing a couple of packets of flower seeds onto your hillside or backyard and expecting a floral bonanza. It doesn't work that way.
Timing is everything with seed-germinated plants. Native wildflowers, like our state flower, the California poppy, sprout on cue in late fall and early winter, with the onset of the rainy season. Right now is about the perfect time. Wait for an approaching storm, then spread the seeds just before the first raindrops fall.
First, assemble your supplies. You will need plenty of seeds. I suggest at least 8 ounces of California poppy seeds (about $20) for every 300 square feet to cover. Then, you'll need some gritty, coarse sand. I bought a bag of No. 20 silica sand from Home Depot (about $6 to $7). Don't use beach sand or all-purpose sand, as it's too fine and has dull edges. Finally, you'll need a bucket or a pail in which to mix the seed with the sand.