Time for a haircut

As you may know there’s a small section of lawn out back which I let go over the summer.  It’s what I call the meadow, and the goal is to have a spot where I can play around with a few bulbs in the lawn and also give the crickets and bunnies a spot to kick back in.

meadow garden

Over the last six years wildflowers such as rudbeckias and goldenrod have moved in and (to me at least) the meadow is an interesting place.

I love the meadow in early summer when the grasses go to seed and daisies spot the amber waves, but now it’s starting to look tired, and I have to remember what the plan is here.  Although the native little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is beginning to invade and I like it elsewhere in the yard, it’s not a prairie I want here so in late August I finally mow.

meadow garden

Little bluestem with a mix of rudbeckia and other wildflowers (weeds?).  I love the look, but it’s time to move on.

Tuesday evening I went through.  The crickets dug into the turf and hid, the rabbits ran off, and the katydids and mantis were old enough to fly to safety.  I’m not completely committed though, I left a few patches of bluestem and mowed around some butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) since I was too weak to enforce my “it all just gets mowed” program.  Maybe next year.

cutting a meadow

The meadow returned to respectability…. and boredom.

It looks neat again which is a relief to the better half, and the midyear trim actually seems to encourage the earlier bloomers such as daisies and rudbeckia, and discourages the goldenrod.

cutting a meadow

I don’t know if it looks better cut, but tall grass is a no-no in suburbia, so I’m sure the neighbors are somewhat relieved.  They’re probably itching to finish things off with a string trim and weed-b-gone 🙂

So I’m back to the mowing routine for this area, but only for another two or so weeks until the colchicums begin to sprout.  They look better blooming in shorter grass, and if truth be told I do have a bias towards doing what it takes to keep them happy.

Have a great weekend!

16 comments on “Time for a haircut

  1. Indie says:

    I love little meadow areas! (Though I like a lot of things that are generally considered ‘no-nos’ in suburbia.) It looks very pretty with all the yellow flowers. I have a detention pond out behind our house that I want to turn into a meadow. We took a brush cutter to it the year before last, and there are a lot of invasive plants (purple loosestrife) that we are trying to take out. The wildlife sure enjoy it though! It is where all the dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, birds, and who knows what else hang out.

    • bittster says:

      I’m a little envious of your retention pond! We also have one behind the house but because of a mining past in this area the ground is too riddled with cracks and holes to hold any water. It just seeps down into the mines within a day or two.
      Purple loosestrife is a nightmare in a wetland. I’d likely just give up and let it go, hoping that eventually some balance is reached. I bet even with a good amount of loosestrife it’s still a great place for all kinds of wildlife though.

  2. Your comment about the neighbors reminds me of a scene in ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ when the neighbor complains to Anthony Hopkins about his unmowed grass lowering the property values of the neighborhood… so he fetches a can of gasoline, anoints the offending greenery, and sets it afire. Neighbor goes ballistic and yells “What do you think you’re doing??!?!” to which Hopkins replies innocently “taking care of the grass..”

    Your neighbors should be thankful that you used a lawn mower instead. 😉

    • bittster says:

      I need to keep my eye out for that movie, it sounds like just the kind of humor which I love 🙂
      There’s a strong possibility that back in my LI days I was guilty of burning the grass in the spring. In my defense it was a zoyzia lawn and I couldn’t stand the dry brown dormant thatch while everything else was beginning to green up. In my defense I thought the black looked better than tan…. and no gasoline was involved 🙂

  3. pbmgarden says:

    I love your meadow.

  4. Christina says:

    Paths mown through meadows are magical, and you might get away with leaving more long grass if the paths look like they go somewhere.

  5. Nice planning for your mowing schedule. I like letting the planted and wild flowers bloom among the grasses. My next post shows what blooms when Chanticleer does the same.

  6. bittster says:

    I’m off to check your post now, I missed it in my reader when I got busy with other things so thanks for the reminder… although I would have seen it anyway the next time I visited 🙂

  7. Chloris says:

    I love your meadow too but I am thinking of doing away with mine because it looks terrible in late summer and needs strimming. Nobody in this house likes strimming, or being nagged to strim. Now setting fire to it sounds much more fun.

    • bittster says:

      I for one enjoy strimming… Although nagging is a different story. Maybe your mower would be up for the job? That’s how I tackle my mess, but usually the grass is thin and dried up enough to not be as big a challenge for the mower.

  8. I can see why you would mow, but I’m glad you left some patches of Little Bluestem and Butterflyweed. Remember the Monarchs!

    • bittster says:

      I walk a thin line between letting everything grow according to natures plan and mowing according to my plan. But how could I chop down such healthy, drought loving perennials!

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