So many flowers!

The seeds have been ordered for the dry site, and the flowers are on their way!   The process of picking out the plants for the restoration was a highlight of the project.  I worked with Earth Source and Heartland Restoration Services.   They are located in Fort Wayne, IN, and collect a lot of seed stock in MI.   I contacted many native plant producers - some never returned my calls/emails, some didn't sell seeds (only starts), some didn't have local genotypes.  Earth Source was the first company that fit all my criteria - have local genotypes, and indulge my need to discuss all the plant options and hand pick my pollinator mix.   There are a lot of pre-mixed 'pollinator habitat' seeds that are fine, but none fit my needs exactly.   Mainly, that some are collected from far away, and they were not designed for the incredibly dry, sandy soil of the Sand Hill. 

The NRCS gave me job sheets that had suggestions for species, but the requirements were really flexible.  Their top concerns were 1) there were at least 4 flower types, and 2) they were appropriate for the site.   I spoke with Dan Zay at NRCS, and friends who do restoration work, and put together a wish list.   I spent over an hour on the phone with Eric at Heartland Restoration - picking out a mix that would thrive in our sandy soil, and that would provide bloom all season long, and that was used by pollinators.  Here is the mix we finally decided on - 3lbs/ acre grass to keep it all together, and 2lbs/ acre of an amazing mix of flowers.   Because of the incredibly sandy soil of the dry site, we went for a short grass/ scrub prairie.  At $550/ acre, they were really expensive, but within the budget provided from NRCS.   I emailed the list to our NRCS office, and got the official stamp of approval, so the check has been written, and the seeds are on their way!   

Mesic - Dry Prairie Seed Mix

Pure Live Seed (PLS)/Acre: 18,000,000

Number of seeds/square foot (Native Seed): 42

Percent native grasses: 37.08%

Percent native forbs: 62.92%

Weight/acre Unit Price/LB Extension


  • 1.0000 LB Bouteloua curtipendula Side-Oats Grama $24.00 $24.00
  • 2.0000 LB Schizachyrium scoparium Little Bluestem $27.00 $54.00

Totals   3.0000 LB $78.00


  • 0.1250 LB Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly Weed $800.00 $100.00
  • 0.0625 LB Aster novae-angliae New England Aster $450.00 $28.13
  • 0.1250 LB Coreopsis lanceolata Sand Coreopsis $192.00 $24.00
  • 0.1250 LB Echinacea purpurea Purple Coneflower $105.00 $13.13
  • 0.1250 LB Helianthus mollis Downy Sunflower $160.00 $20.00
  • 0.1875 LB Lespedeza capitata Round-Head Bushclover $300.00 $56.25
  • 0.0625 LB Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot $150.00 $9.38
  • 0.1250 LB Petalostemum purpureum Purple Prairie Clover $192.00 $24.00
  • 0.1250 LB Ratibida pinnata Yellow Coneflower $105.00 $13.13
  • 0.1875 LB Rudbeckia hirta Black-Eyed Susan $80.00 $15.00
  • 0.1875 LB Silphium laciniatum Compass Plant $200.00 $37.50
  • 0.1250 LB Silphium integrifolium Rosin-Weed $110.00 $13.75
  • 0.0625 LB Solidago nemoralis Gray Goldenrod $528.00 $33.00
  • 0.1250 LB Solidago rigida Stiff Goldenrod $150.00 $18.75
  • 0.0625 LB Solidago speciosa Showy Goldenrod $480.00 $30.00
  • 0.1250 LB Zizia aurea Golden Alexander $270.00 $33.75

Totals 1.9375 LB $469.75

Grand Totals  4.9375 LB $547.75