Presidential Consequences and a Meadow

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Early February. Pam Spaulding photo.

I squeaked by in high school chemistry doing little more than fiddling around with the Bunsen burner so it would throw flames like a tiny oil refinery. I was easily distracted in class, but I never saw any reason to dispute the science behind the periodic table.

What little do I know now?

Chemistry was hard to grasp.

Addressing the alarming consequences of climate change is harder.

Too hard for the President.

Numbing out is easier.

Late May

Bless a few of my Trump-loving friends who have turned a corner and, now, at least, acknowledge that POTUS is crazy, but insist: “If your plumber can fix a leak, who cares if he’s crazy?”

I care.

Also he’s not fixing the leak.

Our crazy President gaslights science as counterfeit and remains unbudgeable on climate change.

This is scary.

Mid-July

Our two-acre melting pot of native pollinators is inconsequential in any larger environmental sense, but I feel healthier and happier walking through a diverse meadow of colors, scents and hummingbirds.

Is this an illusion—the doping effect of a do-gooder?

Late August

Goldenrod, ironweed, green milkweed and frostweed have crossed into our meadow. That’s OK. They join big bluestem, greasy grass, prairie coneflower, New England Aster and other native species that were originally sown late in 2011.

Wind has blown in box elder seeds, and squirrels have buried walnuts. The meadow seems stubbornly determined to return to the central Kentucky forest it once was.

Mid-September

Our meadow won’t save the earth.

The planet can only be preserved with personal, and powerful, worldwide leadership.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Allen, I would love to have a conversation about establishing a meadow. I have access to between 1/8 and 1/4 acre in our nature park but I am getting nothing but negative about pursuing it. The McFarlane Nature Park is 11.5 acres total and we have a portion of the back pasture that is never used for anything. I want to grow some insects!

    • Hi Karin

      It sounds like you may have two questions: 1. Practical—pre-preparation, what to sow and how to get your meadow off the ground (initial maintenance). 2. Political headwinds with the park powers that be to get a meadow established.

      You should talk to someone in Georgia who has done a meadow to get advice. Maybe a county extension agent or someone from the USDA (NRCS) National Resource Conservation Service.

      And if you’ve got a committed group who shares your same interests, they could help lobby for the meadow.

      Benjamin Vogt has a new book coming out in 2022 that will have a whole chapter devoted to urban meadows. Stay tuned.

      • Meadow dilemma: I do not believe in the Kill and Till method of meadow preparation. Pasture grasses will be back in the designated areas almost immediately and tilling will only disturb the soil network and kick up weed seed. We are blessed with fairly friable soil beneath the pasture grasses. They have been mowed weekly and the residue has only improved the underlying soil. My plan is to aerate the area, primarily to create holes for seed to come into contact with the soil. After aeration, I want to distribute fresh seeds of a limited number of meadow residents, including grasses, liatris, baptisia, rudbeckia. Volunteers would then plant landscape plugs of selected grasses, sedges and other plants, as well as transplants of Conoclinium coelestinum, in a fairly random pattern, while adhering to placing the tallest plants nearer the middle and the smaller plants to the outside. Since landscape plugs have 4- 5” deep root structures, they should have a better chance of competing with existing grasses. I am interested in knowing what pitfalls this theory fails to anticipate.

  2. As a person who aspired to be a dental hygienist from the age of eight, I knew I needed even a high school curriculum heavy on the sciences. That was okay, because I loved science. But science involved chemistry. I got an A in chemistry in high school, thanks to a teacher who made it really fun and interesting. But college was a different story.

    My organic chemistry class proved to be a challenge. Microbiology? No problem. But that chemistry was something else. I needed great grades to make it into the dental hygiene program, especially being an out-of-state student at a state university (Indiana University – Fort Wayne). I flunked my first test EVER in that class and ended up with a C for a final grade in it that semester. I made it into the dental hygiene program and worked as a hygienist in both private practice and research for 40 years.

    Yes, that chemistry came in handy, more than I ever thought it would, and I must have learned enough, in spite of struggling through it. But thankfully, it doesn’t take a degree in chemistry to know that it works according to the laws of science. I may not have a working understanding of some of it, but I didn’t need to, in order to perform my job at a high level (according to my professors, the Indiana and Ohio State dental boards, and my employers over the years). I still knew that chemistry drove much of what was involved in my profession and my ability to do my job well. It’s too bad the leader of the free world can’t acknowledge the same.
    Love your meadow, Allen. It makes me wish I could walk through it with you.

  3. One meadow may not save the earth. But thousands upon thousands upon thousands, along with having adults in charge instead of toddlers, will. My meadow currently consists of a few clumps of northern sea oats which need to be relocated to the front yard since the back yard is being turned over to food production. And you just reminded me I need to dig out my big bluestem and other grass seeds to see if any are still viable.

    • Your comment makes me feel better as I garden on only 1/3rd acre but am trying hard to make it pollinator- and nature-friendly. Yes, it’s a drop in the bucket, but to the bees, wasps, flies, dragonflies, butterflies, hummingbirds, and on and on, who visit my garden I think it matters to them. They keep coming.

      It makes me angry and alternately saddens me that the POTUS constantly puts science down. Sure, science isn’t for everyone, but it DOES matter. I come from a heavy science background, but I “get” that not everyone loves science. Just because one doesn’t understand it, doesn’t mean it should be mocked. I don’t sit around mocking auto mechanics or mechanical engineers, even though I have absolutely no mechanical ability whatsoever.

  4. Preach! We need a nationwide effort. Alone, our efforts are like a bunch of people trying to fill the Grand Canyon one brick at a time.

  5. i am slowly getting rid of my front lawn as i hate to mow (Only front yard with flowers to the curb in my neighborhood, and i agree the the president is dangerous as are his enablers…

  6. I’m dedicating a large chunk of my 0.4 acres to pollinator/meadow gardening, including planting trees. Every little bit helps.

  7. Great rant, love your meadow.

    Your republican friends should think about a sign I saw recently.

    “I’m republican but I am NOT a fool, I’m voting for Biden”

    • Bravo! Also there are organized groups of currently former Repubs who are actively working against him and for Biden/Harris.
      You-all know who they are. 42 days to go, I think.
      #StaySafe#StayHealthy
      #SaveOurEartb
      #VoteBlue

  8. Inspiring photos. I have an acre that buzzes with bees and hummingbirds. Plant choices involve attraction for the critters as well as pleasing me.

    Think right. Vote left. Is there a connection between gardeners and people who can think straight? Maybe it’s because gardening is so real.

    Thank you Allen for addressing the big picture.

  9. Republican for Biden & science-loving environmentalist here…

    I’m renting a sod cutter in 2 weeks. I will remove 6,000 square feet of turf in the far back part of my 2 acres. I purchased seeds from American Meadows after learning about them from Joe L’ampl. Hopefully, in 3-4 years I’ll be walking down a curving path much like the one in Allen’s photos.

    I purchased a Midwest native mix and an “constant bloom” mix with Lupines, followed by Daisies, then Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans. It should be wonderful. :o) Everyone say a prayer that the poison ivy doesn’t find its way in from the nearby woods!

  10. I should bring sadness to any gardener to find that a nice and useful resource for sharing information about creating beautiful landscapes and gardens has been sullied by rants which contain evidence of Trump Derangement Syndrome. One of the commentators even mentions that somehow they believe it is logical thinking to vote for Jibberish Joe Biden and his partner in Green New Deal nonsense Kamala Harris. The Feels Up – Heels Up team mates are intent on eliminate the prosperity founded upon cheap and well distributed energy usage.

    There are alligator fossils found in the Arctic. Should that habitat be restored and protected?
    The real Climate Change Deniers are those who do not recognize that the earth’s climate has gone through many changes in many cycles with the current warming cycle still recovering from the last Ice Age. Increasing CO2 gas makes for better environment for growing those plants that gardeners find so dear.

    The human contribution to any factors related to changing climate is very, very small and may amount to nothing. Eliminating fossil fuels and adopting an impossible energy policy will cause hundreds of millions of humans to remain in abject poverty. Walk to the well to carry water home to a house without electric lighting, let alone any reliable and efficient heating or cooling.

    Recently Nancy Pelosi stated that the California fires were the result of making Mother Nature angry. Worshiping Mother Nature is a Stone Age form of religion with many forms. Quite a few of those require human sacrifice to bring rain or good crops. It seems that the Green New Deal true believers have decided that increasing hardship for several billion people will have some effect on natural climate change. It seems that a high school dropout with mental disabilities is a High Priestess of that belief system with many followers.

    I do want to add that the meadow pictured in the blog post is very nice. I have a friend with an excessively large back yard, maybe an extra acre, that I have suggested something of that nature as a solution. Little maintenance and lots of changing beauty. Thanks for posting the attractive picture of what the result could be.

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