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!

At odds in the meadow

For as much enjoyment as the meadow garden brings one gardener here, there is another who despises the long grass and messy arrangement of color.  She’s also one who has no interest in snowdrops and can’t tell a zinnia from a marigold, but before the name calling starts lets just say the meadow garden is not as popular as one might expect.

seating in the meadow garden

The meadow garden in June with appropriate summer seating.

This “garden” amounts to little more than an area of the yard which has been left to fill in with whatever flowers and grasses can make it in the thin, poor soil.  In a normal year this 20×60 ft area is a sea of waving grass gone to seed, but coming off last summer’s drought and this spring’s dry spell the grass is a little threadbare and the rudbeckia and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) stand out more.  On a whim I allowed a few quaking aspen(?) and staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) to grow up and screen the fence but now these sun hogs are under the protection of the non-gardener and I worry they will further suck the life out of the meadow.

Rhus typhina staghorn sumac

Pennsylvania is not a meadow state and the trees and shrubs are always making advances.  We’ll see how much longer the aspen and   staghorn sumac (Rhus Typina) are allowed to stay. 

I guess easy come easy go is the theme for this area and there will never be any regret for the time not wasted in mowing yet more lawn so we’ll see what happens.  It always gets a haircut by the end of summer but I suspect a few trees will need to go sometime soon.

rudbeckia hirta meadow

The far end of the meadow.  The ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea is not your typical meadow shrub, but I’m sure it is one plant which does enjoy the growing afternoon shade…. as well as all the rain we’ve had recently.

My apologies for a post which deals mainly in weeds.  As you know the garden needs more attention at this time of year than there are hours in the schedule so I’d like to leave you with the illusion that the rest of the garden is well under control.  That may or may not be the case, but hopefully with our upcoming holiday weekend a few things will get done.  Happy Independence Day and enjoy the weekend!

In a vase on Monday

Surprisingly enough I’ve made the Monday vase twice in a row, unheard of!

sunflowers from birdseed

Not a bad group of sunflowers, all volunteers from the birdfeeder.

The sunflowers inspired me, and their carefree summer spirit made it easy as pie to put this arrangement together.  After they were in place I was told they needed some other vase, and the red didn’t look good, but “don’t push me” is what I said!  I added the blue wine bottle,  I guess I was feeling very primary with all the sunflower yellow.

I didn’t do much fussing over them and I think they look fine, but I noticed this evening they had done a little of their own arranging, and heads were lifted and there was less of the droopy down facing that you see here.  It’s kind of like a vase of tulips in that they keep growing and twisting to get into a better position.  This should have come as no surprise from a flower that keeps turning its head to face the sun.

sunflower bloom

The birds have been enjoying the seedheads outside for weeks, I guess it’s time for me to enjoy a few myself indoors.

You would think a bunch of volunteer sunflowers grown from seed out of the feeder would all just run the range of yellow, yellow, yellow, but there is some variation in these.  They’re taller and shorter, branched higher and lower, longer petals, shorter, quilled petals, darker centers, pale yellow, splash of brown, deep golden… it’s quite the surprise.

sunflowers in a vase

Different colors and sizes, nothing real fancy, but nice surprises none the less.

I feel like I splurged in cutting these all for a few days in the house, but I’m sure more will come.  The patch still has plenty to look forward to and even a steady stream of goldfinches can’t eat them all.

black oil sunflowers

Sunflowers at sunset. They’ve officially taken over.

So that’s my Monday vase.  I may jump back in here and there to fill a vase, but work is gearing up again and the shorter days really kill my gardening vibe.  The vases are fun though and if you’re interested in joining I’m sure Cathy at Rambling in the Garden would be happy to have you.  Thanks for hosting Cathy!