……..for the Informed Gardener
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IMPROVE YOUR WORLD – PLANT A MEADOW
By Dee Bishop
I just read a very interesting article in Louisiana Gardener about meadows. I want to share with you enough to get you to read the article and perhaps plant a meadow on your own property.
We have all seen a beautiful field of blooming wildflowers and native grasses where the song of insects and birds thrills us with awe as we make our way through, smelling and touching as we go. Remember all the little animals that live there? You nearly always scare up a rabbit or two and there are the little field mice, lizards, toads, frogs, and sometimes even a box turtle plus all sorts of seed-eating birds. Butterflies flitting all around, crickets and grasshoppers and yes—ants! I remember once seeing a field of sunflowers in which a flock of painted buntings were perched all around quibbling over who would get the most seeds. Meadows are teaming with life. Don’t you want to start one?
Most of think having a meadow in town would not work. What would the neighbors think? New York City plant one — right on top of a skyscraper! People everywhere are planting stretches of meadow on school grounds, around golf courses, in public parks, and right in their own yards. Some are even working with the city to make meadows in the dead zone between sidewalks and streets in neighborhoods. Why plant a meadow? Meadow plants have long massive root systems that not only keep soil from washing, they build top soil, very important since each year our farming belt loses massive amounts of top soil due to erosion. They feed pollinators which in turn feed us by making our plants produce fruits and vegetables. The article stated that pollinators are responsible for one of every bite we take! It impressed me! Meadow plantings break up hard soils, which allows precious rain to penetrate and eventually fill our aquifers. These are just a few reasons for developing meadows all around our country.
Briefly the way to start a meadow: kill all plant life in the designated area. Add lots of compost and till the area well. In fall plant a seed mix of native grasses, perennials, and annuals —- plants native to your area. (There are nurseries where you can order a mix of seeds perfect for East Texas) Donate two years to the project to get the perennials off to a good start. After two years, all you will have to do is mow it once a year, usually in late fall. Watch the little green plants sit all winter as a lawn then grow in spring to a network of beautiful flowers and grasses that will be attractive all spring, summer, and fall. They are even pretty in winter since the perennials and hardy annuals are green — something your lawn grass is not.
Can’t you just envision a beautiful stretch of meadow in your yard, or your child’s school, blooming and teaming with life of all kinds. What a living lab for teachers!
Read articles written by Dee Bishop in the past months.
|Arums||Seeds-Now Time||A New Old Remedy||Spring’s Here||Critters in my Sedums||Aster Yellows|
|July in My Garden||Beware Houttuynia||Plant a Meadow|
|Winter Gardening||Bush Whackers||Spring Unfolds||A Few Good Websites||Organic Gardening||Pluck it – Prune it – Pick it|
|Southern Cape Jessamine||Back to Natives||What’s Bloomin?||Is It Fall Yet?||Time to Plant Trees & Shrubs||New Azaleas to Try|