The meadow in June

Last summer ended up being awfully dry in my neck of Pennsylvania, and as a result the grass in the meadow (or orchard if the apple tree ever takes off) took quite a beating.  Parts are so stunted this year you can barely tell it’s been uncut since spring.  This kind of defeats my dream of amber waves of grass rising and falling in the breeze, but it works out great for the new summer bulbs I dibbled around into the turf last fall.  I experimented with a few triteleia and dichelostemma, and although I didn’t expect much out of them after the cold and wet winter, they survived and are now showing off nicely amongst the sparse grass.

triteleia ixioides starlight

The thin grass leaves plenty of room for short bulbs such as triteleia ixioides “starlight”.  It’s not a great picture since it doesn’t show any of the soft yellow of this flower, but it’s the best I could manage!

I needed some bulbs which the rabbits wouldn’t decimate (unlike the crocus) and these have worked out well so far.  I have my fingers crossed they’ll return next year, but for now I’m happy with them.  I think my favorite is this dichelostemma ‘pink diamond’ a natural hybrid from somewhere out of the western end of North America, and hopefully a good match for my dry-as-a-bone-in-summer meadow.

dichelostemma pink diamond

Dichelostemma “pink diamond”, the tubular pink blooms look almost waxy and rise up above the grass while the grass covers up its yellowing leaves.

Sumac and aspen are constantly making a bid to take over the meadow, so I need to get in there and snap them off.  Too bad the lazy little bunnies can’t do me a favor and chew these plants down.  It would finally give the blueberries a break.

dichelostemma pink diamond

The bright color of the “pink diamond” blooms really stand out in the meadow.  Good thing too since last year’s drought was also rough on rudbeckia and daisy seedlings.

Dichelostemma congestum was another treat.  It’s got a clear, bright blue color and also stands out well in the grass.  Hopefully this is another bulb that will settle in and call the meadow home.

dichelostemma congestum

Dichelostemma congestum looking nice up against the only patch of decent grass.

If I trust my seed skills I could try collecting a few and nursing them along for more of these little bulbs, but honestly I think they’re better off falling to the ground and fending for themselves.

dichelostemma congestum

If the butterfly weed was just a little quicker I could have a nice mix of bright orange to go with the daisies and dichelostemma. Summer’s the time for bright combos, right?

So that’s it for the meadow in June.  The butterfly weed is coming along and should make for a colorful intro into July and I’m glad to have a few interesting things back there.  Sure beats the half dead lawn I used to waste my time cutting each week!

12 comments on “The meadow in June

  1. Nice to see someone else has just left lawn to grow into a meadow – it does work doesn’t it? And your bulbs are lovely and varieties I haven’t heard of. But I’m pleased not to have your rabbit problem and very pleased not to have sumac! Dave

    • bittster says:

      I do like a nice meadow, and a few paths cut through make it all the better. Here in the US the push is always on for prairie plantings full of natives, but being in suburbia I think my late summer mowing to tame it keeps the neighbors from talking too much… but then they find other things I’m sure.
      The sumac is a troublesome child. While the fall color is great, and the shade is dappled, the suckering is relentless!

  2. Your meadow looks wonderful. How big is it? A wide shot would give us an idea. My butterfly weed has been in bloom now for a week. It looks like you have a nice crop of it going. I bet you are going to have lots of butterflies. I saw my first Monarch today in the garden too. Looking up for them I hope.

  3. Pauline says:

    Your meadow is looking good with its flowers, love the colour of the Dichelostemma, such a lovely blue, I’m sure they will all multiply and be even better next year.

    • bittster says:

      I hope so Pauline! I’d love to see them come back, but if this is all I get out of them I still won’t begrudge the 50% off pricetag and 15 minutes spent planting 🙂

  4. Layanee says:

    I find nothing as beautiful as a meadow. Meadows have a charm all their own.

    • bittster says:

      Hi Layanee, I agree, I love passing all the uncut hayfields at this time of year. Even the uncut highway medians have a certain charm.
      thanks for stopping by.

  5. Christina says:

    Good for you making your lawn into a meadow. Did you do anything to reduce fertility before planting?

    • bittster says:

      My soil is a thin layer of clayish soil spread across packed shale and rock from when the house was build 50ish years ago. There’s not much fertility to begin with so unless we have a real rainy summer the grass stays thin.

  6. Cathy says:

    That meadow is so pretty already and I can imagine it will be such an attraction to all the pollinators in years to come. Great idea to let it grow and stop mowing. I really love the blues and pinks of Dichelostemma.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Cathy! I’m still trying to work out what does well back there yet doesn’t mind being mown down in late summer. It’s a fun little experiment.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    I admire your wonderful meadow. The color of Dichelostemma congestum is lovely.

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