Lawn/Meadow-Getting Better

In the continuing saga of the transformation of the little bit of lawn at the side of the garage into a sort of meadow, fall of 2012 sees improvements being made.

The star planting is Verbena bonariensis. In bloom since May, it has been discovered that frequent trimming will keep the height in check and the flowers flowing. Pollinators of all sorts adore these little purple tubes.

The addition of weeds wildflowers dug from the gravel paths has worked well. The tiny white dots are just what is needed to brighten up the greens and purples.

This summer, it was determined that red foliage was needed. Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ was available and up to the task. It has filled in nicely.

The story about that can be read by clicking here.

Much more needs to be added, obviously.

But the addition of red is the way to go. Crimson clover seed was scattered in late winter, germinating in late May. More seed was purchased at the Co-op for an earlier sowing in late fall, hoping to see the red dots when the spring bulbs are in bloom.

The lawn/meadow is still a bit on the messy side, to some eyes, but it is improving.

There are now more flowers during the entire growing season, with more variety. Above are the LA hybrid Lilium ‘Royal Sunset’, gorgeous in bloom in late May and adding strong, dark green vertical elements afterwards. When the stalks turn brown, they are cut down.

Finding what will grow in the midst of a former lawn has been a learning process.
Click here to see the beginning of this project with updates. The image above shows the lawn in April of 2008, before the thought of it becoming a meadow had entered our consciousness.

The whole thing is mowed down for a neat appearance after several frosts have turned it to a collapsed pile of straw.

Truth be told, come September, the lawn is little more than a backdrop for the pink veil of loveliness, Muhlenbergia capillaris growing along the driveway, anyway.


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17 Responses to Lawn/Meadow-Getting Better

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your meadowette is turning into a real showcase for urban meadows. Love the red clover. Does it bloom all summer?

    Hi Lisa, thanks. This plot improves all the time, as it should, I suppose, with all the thought and effort going into it. The red clover melts away in the heat. It was planted later than it should have been last year, at the end of February. I am going for a late fall sowing this time, with double the seeds to see how that works.

  2. It all looks wonderful to me, and I’m sure the critters like it. I hope your clover does well again. It’s a beauty!

    Hi Sue, thanks so much. The pollinators do love the flowers in there, the Verbena is very long blooming, non stop since May. I love watching the butterflies flit and flurry in there.

  3. Florafying my meadows is also a dream and you inspire me to get at it. Much to be done – and soon much to be seen on the Haenertsburg Grasslands around our village, where winter fire cleared the old growth before plenty of early rain awoke the seeds. My guess is that we are days away from SPECTACULAR – I will go see and post! Jack

    That sounds wonderful, Jack. Your area is so beautiful and diverse, even without flowers. But the pollinators really love to have a nectar source and they add to the beauty and joy of it. I can’t wait to see yours!

  4. One of Noel Kingsbury’s earlier books, The New Perennial Garden, showed him planting daylilies into a cultivated meadow, similar to how you planted the true lilies. In other words, they were just dotted around. I wonder how that would work in your lawn meadow?

    Hi Kathy, thanks for visiting. I have that Kingsbury book, it has been quite inspiring to me in the making of this meadow, actually. I have added daylilies in the front island along with the grasses and shrubs there and they have done well.

  5. The feathery almost dreamy form of the meadow flowers looks great against the backdrop of the evergreen bushes.

    Hi Dawn, thanks for visiting. The Canon sx1 gives that blurry, dreamy look when standing far away and using the zoom. The arborvitae hedge does make a good background standing tall.

  6. Lola says:

    I love your meadow. That pink muhly is to die for. I’ve planted a couple small one’s & am waiting for them to bloom. They will be a backdrop for some azaleas. I hope it looks like I have it in mind.

    Thanks Lola. The muhly is the star right now and on into the end of the year, but the sheffie mums are just on the cusp of opening, too. This garden goes out with a bang. I hope your muhly gives you great joy.

  7. Mark and Gaz says:

    The lawn/meadow has come on so well, looks really lovely! The Persicaria has a added a zing of colour too.

    Thanks Mark and Gaz. It will always be a work in progress, that is the fun of it. I am pleased with the persicaria, it has settled in well.

  8. Those lilies look wonderful. Good tip on the Verbena, thanks.

    Thanks Garden IAC. The lilies are so colorful, they do light it up while in bloom and the foliage adds some diversity as well. Enjoy those Verbenas, what a grand plant.

  9. Lynn Hunt says:

    It is really coming together beautifully, Frances. I am trying to add more wildflowers to our nature trail so something is blooming most of the time. It is my first experience with shade and I am enjoying learning about the plants and ferns that will be happy there.

    Thanks Lynn. Your nature trail sounds delightful. I don’t know much about shade, either, but know you will come up with a beautiful tapestry of year around beauty.

  10. Very inspirational! Will you come to my house and work your magic here? I love the Crimson Clover and all the other subtle tints of reds and roses. Stunning!

    Thanks PlantPostings. When I am done here, I will be right over. The reds add a lot to thie garden, and yellow goldenrod and asters have also been added since these shots were taken for a purple/white/yellow theme that is seen along the roadsides here.

  11. I too, have the verbena but have never cut it back. I am glad to know that this helps it. Love your garden!

    Hi Linda, thanks. The Verbena doesn’t have to be cut back, but it stands up better and branches more for more flowers when so treated.

  12. ZielonaMila says:

    Wonderful photographs, such views always enrapture me. I am greeting

    Hi Mila, thanks and welcome! I appreciate your visit.

  13. Lovely…I love my meadow and all its natives and some weeds….I leave mine up all winter for wildlife and then I do a bit of clean up to the compost pile although it just composts itself…

    Thanks Donna. I have several stands of wildflowers that stand all winter, too. The lawn/meadow has early spring bulbs so I have to get it cut before that foliage starts showing, which can be as soon as the end of December here. This weird weather…

  14. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, It’s an experiment that’s gone well! I love your meadow and the transition from lawn has been a treat to watch. Happy gardening, isn’t the weather splendid for it! xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. It seems to be improving and there is always room for more wildflowers. I am loving this true fall weather.

  15. Rose says:

    The verbena bono is the perfect plant for this area; it looks so good combined with all the other wildflowers here. Beckie had it coming up everywhere this summer, while I had two solitary plants that survived from seeds scattered in the butterfly garden. I can’t figure out why it doesn’t like it here. But you are right about the Muhly grass; it’s hard for me to notice anything but that beautiful froth of pink!

    Thanks Rose, the muhly is such an attention hog! HA When trying to seed the Verbena bonariensis, it resists, but the self sowns, always in the gravel paths are everywhere. I move them to the spots in the garden beds then. I don’t question this logic!

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