GARDENING: Cheerios #bringbackthebees Seed Mix, Help Identifying the Flowers

SO I was one of the lucky people who scored a free wildflower seed packet from Cheerios. I know it is the end of the season for flower planting...technically. But I also like to split and transplant now because the days are slightly cooler, and there is still time for roots to get established before the first frost. And let's face it, everything is looking tired right now in the garden anyway.

Now before I get a ton of commenters freaking out about how bad this seed packet is, relax. I feel like Cheerios tried to do a good thing, and man did the haters hate on them. As with anything you put in your yard, you should know what you are doing. So, people that just threw them in without knowing what was invasive to their neck of the woods, I say shame on them. Every state and locale are different. Every yard is different. If you want to plant something, know what you are planting. That is actually why I don't care for general seed mixes like this. A lot of planning goes into my beds. I look at height, color, sun, moisture. It all needs to be considered. A giant seed packet that you "shake and pray" doesn't work for me.

But I am not going to turn down free seeds. Especially native-ish plants, which I am slowly moving the garden toward. And with me not working full time right now, mamma is on a BUDGET. What is worse than a crazy-obsessed flower gardener with no budget? Nothing worse, my friends. Nothing. Which is why I grabbed these seeds and hoped for the best-but with some careful steps added to that 'hope'.

With prudence guiding me, I grew the seeds as a phase 1 "nursery phase", using a large window box. The box is self-contained, and I can see what was going to grow, what wasn't. I made a chicken wire cage on top so that my crazy urban squirrels would not be tempted, so the seeds could be left in peace. It worked out great. Things flourished.

Phase 2 was more labor intensive. It also showed my husband why I never throw away the small plastic pots from the garden stores. I think he thinks I am a crazy hoarder.

Once they all got big enough, I divided and transplanted all the plants lovingly and carefully to single recycled nursery containers. Bigger plants got bigger homes; smaller got smaller. I also punctured holes in dixie cups to pull away the very small starter plants and transplant them. Once they all were separated, I was hoping the smaller plants had more sun and room to grow larger. But these were so small, I don't have a ton of hope they will survive the frost. But we'll see. I had the dirt and the dixie cups, so I thought I would give them a fighting chance.

It was during this phase that I could start identifying the plants. What was invasive? What likes the sun? What likes rocky soil versus wet dirt? Which are annuals? Once that was figured out and they all hardened up in the pots, I could transplant them to the ground where they would do best. Invasives get tossed.

Here was/is the problem:

What the heck are all these plants? Can you tell? Um. Yeahhh.

I didn't have a list of plant seeds, and I had to dig around to find a complete one, and even online there are discrepancies. Also, it would help to actually have a visual reference. As a creative director and art director, this is where I think Cheerios fell down a little on their campaign. A microsite with a visual reference of the plants and some details around each would have been helpful.  It could have been a great learning tool for kids, too, maybe with fun, flower-identifying games and activities? Maybe even an app where you can shoot a picture of your plant and it could tell you which flower it is?
Just ideas for next year's campaign?
(I am available for freelance, Cheerios. Just say'n.)

To create some garden sanity, I threw together a cheat sheet. And as I was putting it together, I thought maybe others online were having the same problem. So here are my quick cheat sheets (below). I hope they help?

They actually still have me baffled on one plant (below here), of which I have a lot of. I cannot tell what this is so if someone wants to enlighten me, PLEASE HELP. I keep thinking it may be a rockcress? But it doesn't really look like it.

#cheerios #bringbackthebees Visual Cheat Sheets:
I did this for me personally, but I thought this may help my fellow gardeners, too. 



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