This Nashville Yard Went From Mud Puddle to Wildflower Garden

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Sometimes it’s what’s on the outside that counts. In “Front of House,” we dig into all the elements that give a home “stop the car!” kind of curb appeal, from main character mailboxes to muchwelcome yard transformations.

In 2022, Amanda Lillard Colohan, aka @modernjunecleaver on Instagram, had just ripped up her front yard to remove old bushes and add a concrete driveway when inspiration struck in the most unlikely of places: “I happened to be watching Matilda and saw Miss Honey’s house and thought, Well, I can probably do that on a much smaller scale.” She’s referring to the character’s charming cottage, where a wildflower garden sprawls across the front lawn. 

Front yard with a few wildflowers growing

The plan. Collage by Amanda Lillard Colohan

So Colohan, an entertainment lawyer, started researching English cottage gardens and figured that planting flowers would be more manageable than getting grass to grow. (More on that in a second.) Then she started measuring the lawn and making a spreadsheet of potential blooms. After consulting the agriculture program at the University of Tennesee-Knoxville to rule out invasive plants, she stumbled upon online seeds store American Meadows, which sells a bulk mix specifically for the Southeast. She also stocked up on EarthMix Proganix-I to supplement her soil.

Front of house with sidewalk and dirt

Photography by Amanda Lillard Colohan
Woman holding bucket of wildflower seed mix

Photography by Amanda Lillard Colohan

“My first year, I leaned very heavily on annual, easy-to-grow flowers that basically had no germination time,” she says. “I needed a guarantee that I hadn’t made the worst decision ever.” So she stuck to perennials and annuals (both native and non-) that would bloom in six to nine weeks. What she didn’t realize was how often she’d have to water the garden—twice a day—but thankfully at the time, Colohan was working from home and could water between meetings. She was also surprised that flowers continued to bloom, or stayed blooming, until November. 

Front of house wildflower garden growing halfway

Photography by
Amanda Lillard Colohan

Since then—this is her third year of the garden—she has learned to go lighter on the seeding, and after trial and error, found a watering system that works. (Last year’s drip houses brought in too many invasive species.) And while Colohan swears she wasn’t going for a particular palette, she’s learned that the easiest wildflowers to grow just so happen to all look great together. 

Wildflower garden in front of house

Photography by
Amanda Lillard Colohan

The garden isn’t just a joy for Colohan: The bees love it, and so do her neighbors. “They’ve started to make requests,” she says. “I have a neighbor who loves sunflowers, so she asks for them closer to her side of the yard.” She has even handed out bouquets to neighbors who ask—“I have more flowers that I’ll ever need,” she says—but she does warn that they need to be cut properly in order to regrow. (So please don’t grab stems on your own!)

Cat sleeping on sidewalk between wildflower gardens

Photography by Amanda Lillard Colohan
Woman holding vase full of wildflowers in front of pink door

Photography by
Amanda Lillard Colohan

Even the Internet noticed when one of her TikToks on the garden went viral last year. “One of the most trending comments was, ‘Isn’t this Miss Honey’s house?’” she says. “And I was like, ‘Yes! That was my exact goal.’” 

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