Back about 10 years ago, I mapped out an area between some trees that includes the drain field for the studio septic system. Those drain lines are close to the surface and therefore could easily be damaged if large trucks were to drive across them. Mostly we don't have large trucks driving randomly across our yard but the area of the drain field is in the direct path between front gate and the horse pastures. It's the path a vet might take to get to the injured or ill horse needing attention. Or it might be the contractor who is working on our fences or building shelters for the animals. You get the idea. I wanted to demark this area, surrounded by trees, as a "Do not drive here" zone without putting up a sign that said "Do not drive here".
Without a doubt, the best idea I could come up with was a wildflower garden. I could see in my mind's eye a field of bluebonnets with some Indian paint brush, coreopsis with some phlox and evening primrose. How spectacular would that be? Then no one would drive across the area when it was in bloom and I could leave it to reseed itself by not mowing the area through the rest of the year. It would always look like a place you shouldn't drive.
Sounds like a wonderful plan but year after year we would mow and rake and till and sow wildflower seeds by the pound without much effect. We always got some flowers but when you looked at the area from even a few feet away, it looked pitiful. Our landscapers worked on the area year after year and we just couldn't get enough of a wildflower garden to be able to call it that.
So, I gave up in disgust. At least I gave up on the idea of a wildflower garden. Now it would be my non-wildflower garden because I still needed it to be a "Do not drive here" zone. So last year we planted some sunflowers.
I love sunflowers. They are big and husky and small and tall and come in various colors. Some turn to the sun as it moves across the sky while other variants do not. It doesn't matter. It's all good. And we got sunflowers. They didn't cover anywhere near the entire area and they didn't last as long as I would have liked but we had sunflowers.
This year is the new and improved design for my non-wildflower garden. My landscaper, Matt Menefee, showed up with a huge bucket of sunflower heads full of seed, his tractor and his skills. I think he felt he had failed us in our quest for a wildflower garden and he wasn't going to fail us in this new iteration.
The total area of the garden is much smaller than I had chosen in the beginning but much better looking. It's a crescent covering much of the drain field and looks stunning. And boy has it grown - from dirt to low growth to tall plants to smiling sunflowers.
I don't know how long the sunflowers will last but for now they make a huge hedge of green growth crowned by stunning sunny flowers. It clearly makes a "Do not drive here" zone. All the rain we've had has been a huge help in making my non-wildflower garden a thing of beauty.