Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Meadow Take One

In a picturesque (ahem) corner of my garden, I am attempting to create a wildflower meadow. The meadow is located in the eastern corner of my property where there is no irrigation, so whatever grows has to grow on it's own with little help from me.  

Post oaks, which are barely making it in this drought, stand at the edges of my meadow.  An ornamental wind mill that sits in the middle of the meadow, hopefully, announces that something more than a weed fest is going on out there. 


After an incredibly dry fall, I had completely written off the meadow for this year.  It didn't look like any of my seeds were going to germinate.  Contrast this to other parts of my garden, where self-seeded plants were running amok.  

The purple flowered, Lyre Leaf Sage (salvia lyrata) and red flowered, Scarlet Sage (salvia coccinea) pictured below are free seeding plants that will spread quickly if not kept in check. Maybe I'll put some of these in my meadow.



In an effort to have some flowering plants in my sad little meadow, I purchased five blooming Indian Paintbrush in four inch pots and planted them in the meadow.  Coincidentally, while planting my transplants, I found that there was actually one little paintbrush that volunteered of it's own accord.  With any luck these six Indian Paintbrush will produce seeds for next year's flowers.


One day, when my husband was itching to mow down my meadow, I decided to venture out in search of any redeeming value the meadow might hold. From a distance it looked like a weedy mess and I was having a hard time justify it's existence in my own mind.  Maybe it was time to mow and call it quits for this year.

To my surprise, I found something more than just weeds.  There were flowers, pretty flowers, trying to make it among the taller weedy plants and grasses.  


This was not the big show of wildflowers that I was hoping for, but I'm not disappointed. 


If you look closely and take pleasure in small things, even a weedy meadow can hold a few surprises.




Herbertia lahue


12 comments:

  1. Hey - at least you didn't plant the seeds and then spend hours pulling up every "weed seedling" like I did back in the day.

    What's that last purple flower? My neighbor has some growing by her house - I'm 90% sure that she doesn't want it and I need to go pull some of the seeds so I can have them because I do like them.

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    1. Full disclosure: I had to ask our gardening friends for help on the plant id. It's called Herbertia lahue. Comes up on the Wildflower.org site.

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  2. That's a very special place, especially the indian paintbrush since they are notorious for resisting being planted anywhere. Lots of pretty small plants show your meadow is establishing nicely, it's just going to take a while.

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    1. I didn't know that about Indian Paintbrush. Maybe my one little volunteer will lead the charge for the other new comers.

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  3. You do have some pretty blooms. I hope you have success with the Indian Paintbrush. My neighbor did this year by planting the seeds with bluebonnets. He had a lovely stand. Maybe you know that their success depends upon them putting their roots into other plants. I don't know how they get them to grow in pots. I would love to have them on my top meadow but I think I will keep out the Lyre leaf sage and the mealy blue sage. In fact all the sages!

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    1. That's interesting, I didn't know that the paintbrush had a dependency on other plants. I like the idea of mixing the bluebonnet and paintbrush seeds. Those wildflowers are 2 of my favorites.

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  4. Beautiful!!! How exciting!!

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    1. Since I had written the meadow off for this year, it is indeed very exciting that something decided to grow there. Yay nature!

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  5. Everybody needs a meadow, if there's room. Every year is different -- every month is different. I like a path mowed through mine, to show it isn't just a vacant patch.

    You have many interesting flowers, and the season has just started.

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    1. A path is a great idea. Nothing like a path to make things look more civilized. Also, it's not much fun tromping through the weeds to get a look at the pretty flowers.

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  6. Hi Ally, I love that y'all are growing a meadow. I played in an urban meadow (adjacent vacant lots) next to my grandparents' house when I was a kid. I remember the stickers and purple cone flowers best. We crossed the meadow to get to the treehouse on the edge. Your windmill in the center is perfect. Seems to me that the meadow is taking off beautifully!

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    1. Thanks Cyndi, I have big plans to add other plants. I like the idea of adding the purple cone flower, but I'm not sure if they would make it without irrigation. I may give it try with one of my volunteer cone flowers. They seem pretty hardy.

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