Planting new Meadow in Mid Atlantic
Hello. Can anyone provide a good resource for Planning, Planting, then annual Care & Feeding of a Meadow? We are mid-atlantic zone 6b or 7a, just east of the Shenandoah.
This began as a goal to minimize the mowed area of a new house on 3 acres. Now my goal is to provide a beautiful, more natural area (that I don't have to mow) that also will be beneficial to the local wildlife (birds, small game, foxes, deer). A wildflower & mixed grasses Meadow that is low enough to NOT block the view, and that I can see deer when they're standing, to me would be PERFECT.
Please see picture below for the location. It is atop a grey-water drain field from our septic system. This photo view is looking East.
The site is watered by the septic, and would receive both sun & shade.
Not having any idea how to prepare the site for a meadow, so far I have focused on removing the invasives - because this time last year, this area was wild with overgrown grasses, scrub, and a huge briar thicket. The area remains full of wild grapevine, wild honeysuckle, wild rose, ground-creeping thorny briars, regular briars, re-naturalized raspberry & blackberry canes, small cherry trees, poplar, and a hundred other things that the birds have planted. Oh, and poison Ivey. I'm mostly hand-pulling all this, or if it's a huge plant, cutting then painting the stump with brush-kill on a paint brush.
SO, the question is - How to Make this Into a Meadow? Then How do I Maintain the Meadow? When do you cut it? How is it managed in the Spring? In the Fall? And where is a good source for (reasonably affordable) seed?
I'm not afraid of website research, or of ordering & reading a good "How To" book.
All suggestions greatly appreciated, thanks!