As Susan continues to struggle with a groundcover anti-lawn, I am once again contemplating the meadow concept with some help from The New York Times. As Jane Garver reports there, a 40-acre meadow in Connecticut is finally matured, nine years after it was started. It has waves of liatris, solidago, milkweed, foxtail, heliopsis, asters, and many other biennials and perennials. Its designer Larry Weaner has also completed 24 meadows along the New York State thruway. The pictures of his Connecticut meadow look lovely.
It’s absolute nonsense for me to be thinking of a meadow for my property; it’s too small and there’s too much shade. I was one of those (as the article recalls) who bought a can of wildflower seeds back in 1999, and sprinkled them hopefully, only to wind up, nine years later, with some very nice Canadian anenome (above). I am now trying to introduce more tall meadow-type plants (eupatorium, heliopsis, others named above) into a sunny bed for sort of a little mini-meadow. But roses, lilies, and a changing roster of annuals are also in the mix, so it will never have much of a meadow feel.
Where I’d love to see meadows installed is in public areas throughout Western New York. With weed control the main job once they’re established, they would surely save government parks departments a lot of mowing, watering, and other maintenance, and make our parks and roadsides much more interesting and beautiful places.
Public landscapers around here should learn from our nature conservancies, which have been maintaining specific areas of native plants for years. Or just take a drive along the throughway—though I suspect Weaner’s thruway meadows must be further downstate.