The Story of Backyard Beauties
Now that I think back, I believe that gardening has always been one of my hobbies! I’ve been gardening since I was 10 or 12 years old; pulling weeds to be exact! I loved pulling weeds from my mom’s flower gardens and I still love weeding to this day! I don’t know what it is that I like so much about weeding out my gardens, but maybe it has to do with making them look fresh and new. And making room for all my beautiful wildflowers to grow!
My husband and I bought our first house in 1977 and it had rose gardens that I always kept weeded. We had our current house built in 1990 and that’s where my Backyard Beauties story really begins! We built in a subdivision on ¼ acre of ground and our backyard was really huge compared to the small backyard we had in St. Louis. I had already decided that I wasn’t going to plant any rose bushes as I’d had my fill of them for the last 13 years at our city house. I decided I wanted to plant wildflowers, all different kinds! But before I could do that, we had to get our backyard somewhat organized so that once I planted my flowers, they wouldn’t be torn up doing construction work. So my husband built our deck the first summer, put a roof over it the second summer, and then built our wooden fence the third summer which was 1993. And that was my first year of planting wildflowers!
I bought a few small sacks of different wildflower varieties and planted the seeds that summer. They came up pretty fast and I finally had color in my new backyard! I noticed by the Fall, which wildflowers seemed to last the best. They were Coreopsis, Mexican Hats and Cosmos sulphureus. Of course at this time, I didn’t know the names of any of these wildflowers, just that I liked them.
Too Many Seeds!
The Coreopsis and the Mexican Hats didn’t produce seeds that were very visible, but the Cosmos sulphureus (yellow and orange flowers) produced the most wonderful-looking seeds and in such a way that you just couldn’t miss them! After each flower was spent for that growing season, it would turn into a spiked seed head, similar to what a dandelion white seed head looks like. I was just amazed at how these brown Cosmos seeds just seemed to pop open, yet stay in place for quite a while. I decided to start picking them and putting them in storage to then plant the next spring in order to increase the colorful flowers in my backyard. And that’s exactly what I did!
By the summer of 1995, I had Cosmos flowers all around our backyard. The yellow and orange flowers against our stained wooden fences looked very striking. It made quite a beautiful picture for my cousin and her friend who came to visit us from Italy that summer. My backyard was full of color everywhere because I had picked the seeds from year to year and planted some of them each spring, making more flowers until my whole backyard was full of them! It was well worth the effort! Plus it was fun!
Since Cosmos are hardy annuals, they reseed themselves and sprout the following spring as long as the winter winds don’t blow the seeds away, if birds don’t eat the seeds and as long as the seeds aren’t in total shade. And for the bare spots I do have each spring, I throw out some seeds that I picked during the last growing season. My gardens will never be without colorful, blooming flowers!
So from 1993-1998, I kept my gardens full of color each Summer and Fall; picking and storing seeds; lots of seeds! But once my backyard was full of flowers, I was still picking the seeds each year because I just couldn’t see them all falling to the ground and being wasted, as there were more seeds than ground!
My “Inside” and “Outside” Offices
In January, 1998 I opened my home-based secretarial business, Accurate Office Services. I suddenly realized just how many Cosmos seeds I had picked and was storing and knew I was out of planting ground in my backyard! So I started thinking how could I incorporate all these flower seeds into my secretarial business? I remembered that Thank You cards are a big thing in the world of business people, so decided I would somehow create handmade Thank You cards that would include my wildflower seeds, giving the person a “card and gift all-in-one” and all my collected seeds wouldn’t be going to waste!
So my investigation began in how to incorporate my seeds into handmade cards. And a few months later, Backyard Beauties and All-Occasion Seed Cards were born! It’s been non-stop ever since! I’m either typing, planting seeds, weeding my gardens, picking and storing seeds, making cards, creating seed packets or growing, cutting, drying and packaging my Spearmint. It’s great to have both “inside” and “outside” offices!
I offer my All-Occasion Seed Cards as a unique service in my secretarial business. These cards make unique Thank You cards for business people to send to their clients and the cards can be used by anyone for all occasions as they are a “card and gift all-in-one!”
I’ve been growing these flowers since 1993, that’s how much I love them as they are the easiest flowers to grow and so beautifully colorful, too! And that’s my story of Backyard Beauties!