Friday, June 3, 2011

The Joys of a Meadow

Before The Abyss was The Abyss, it was to be a Meadow.  It seemed like a particularly good idea all through the winter when it was sleeping under two feet of snow.

Everything looks so pretty covered in snow.

As things began to melt and the ground began to warm, the Meadow started to emerge.

I really didn't know how to differentiate weeds from desirables so I couldn't be sure that I had a Meadow and not a Weed Pit.

Seeing no buds, no blooms, no anything, I was convinced my humble efforts at a Meadow had failed miserably and the yard was renamed The Abyss.

Over the last several weeks, things have been growing and blooming.  I recognized a Shasta Daisy.  I was happy.  I thought everything else was a weed with nerve enough to tempt me with a pretty flower on its head.  (I think bindweed is pretty so imagine the horror when I dug it out of a neighbor's yard... at her insistence... and planted it in mine.  The thing got so bad I sold the house.)

Yesterday's thunderstorms (beautiful, loud, audacious, brilliant) kept my body out of the garden but not my mind.  So I decided to look up all the seeds in the Northeast Wildflower Mix from American Meadows that I had purchased and planted last August.  (I bought a pound to spread over a 3,000 square foot area.  My grandson, who was assigned the task, spread it over a 300 square foot area.)

I do believe I have a Meadow.  The catchfly and larkspur are blooming as are the Shasta daisies, the bachelor's buttons are budding, and the Siberian Wallflower did well.  I have lupines, coneflowers, and Mexican Hats.  Mexican Hats!!!  (See?  I know the names of these flowers!  I know the Latin names, too, and I am mightily impressed with myself.)

Budding Lupine
 I learned what a horseweed is.  I now know TWO weeds (dandelion is the other) by name.  I hope to see poison ivy as I have no idea what this looks like and fear that I may find it growing in someone's yard and they'll let me take as much as I want.

Bachelor's Button
American Meadows has a great website that lists all the plants in their mixes, and all I did during the thunderstorm was google images of everything on that list to see what had come through.  I wish I were better at identifying plants through their leaves, but I'm not.  So those things that may be weeds still sit there until whatever looks like it wants to bloom blooms.

This Meadow may actually find permanence in my home, although Landscape Lover's advice to "keep things simple, to go with your lovely, sleekly modern house - so big swathes of single plants feels right to me" makes me wonder of a field of lilies or sunflowers or irises wouldn't be better.  (Our house is a contemporary and I don't want to botch the look of our house by planting something that won't work.)

Much to ponder, but today, I am really joyous over my little, baby meadow.


  1. Hi
    Thanks for taking my advice seriously enough to quote it! I think your meadow sounds lovely, and completely suitable for that spot. So glad you held your nerve and didn't dig everything up when you weren't sure what it all was. It sounds a great idea to check back against the seed list and see exactly what each plant was. That's how we all start, learning a few plants at a time.
    My advice to "keep things simple" was a warning against lots of fussy little beds and too much detail: a meadow counts in my book as the big swathe I was imagining!
    Good luck! I look forward to seeing photos soon...

  2. Landscape Lover.... I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!! You have validated me and my Meadow is now officially A MEADOW!!! I am sooo happy you wrote me, and yes! I take your advice very seriously. :-)

  3. And the neighbor knew what it was? Geez, that is bad. I'm glad your meadow is coming along.

  4. Tina, the neighbor had an above-ground pool, a chain link fence, and a beautiful lawn. Hardly a gardener and I think he meant no harm. But he was a retired Marine and anything outside of those three components would send him in a tizzy. No worries... I sold the house with 23 beautiful gardens and over 80 mature trees, and the new owners ripped every single plant out, chopped down every tree, and planted sod. I don't drive by there anymore. It makes me cry.

  5. What a journey of discovery you are on, identifying what is emerging in your meadow. How fun! Yes, you do have a meadow. The lupines will spread (mine are overtaking a swath of rocky hillside, and spreading, spreading each year along with the march of the daisies).

    You live in Connecticut and you have not identified poison ivy?? Trust me you have it. It's lurking everywhere in your woods.

  6. I'm sure you are so excited every time you recognise another new plant in your meadow and every year it will just get better. Some of the weaker varieties might need moved to the outer boundary as the lupines and shasta daisies expand on their territory.

    Thankyou so much for the visit to my place and your lovely commments - much appreciated.



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