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Is my yard already a meadow???

Posted by louisianagal z7bMS (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 1, 08 at 12:21

Hi all,
I have a back yard that, at this time, looks like a meadow. It is covered in tiny wildflowers of different varieties, including but not limited to dandelions and violets, and johnny jump ups, clover, vetch, I think a weedy geranium. I am not sure if these are native. I have bermuda grass in there somewhere, and a small part of zoysia which actaully crept over from a neighbor's pristine lawn.
Is this a meadow? How can I nurture it? Along the periphery and in many island beds throughout I have gardens. I garden organically and to encourage wildlife and have many, but not all natives (Mississippi). Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanx, Laurie

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is my yard already a meadow???

You might want to increase a compost pile if you have one and disperse the excess in your "meadow." You might want to research what natives there are in MS and possibly plant some seeds and when you visit a big box pick up some generic fertilizer and spread that about as well or check into native legumes or lupine, to add nitrigen to the soil naturally.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating perennials

RE: Is my yard already a meadow???

I think you have a meadow. It is a meadow of mostly non-native plants, but if it serves as a lawn (something you can walk on without damaging it) and you like it, then I think you have a good thing going. I'd keep most of what you have, perhaps make an effort to remove those plants which you don't want, add plants you do like, and enjoy the semi-native, functional meadow that has developed in your yard. I am not sure that you could have a meadow of only Mississippi or southeast native plants that would support much foot traffic without damage, and even if you tried for all natives, you'd have non-native plants appearing all the time. Your meadow is a practical approach to having a meadow, in my opinion, and sounds like a low-maintenance project.

RE: Is my yard already a meadow???

A meadow has no scientific definition. It is essentially a mix of non-woody plants, synonymous with 'pasture'.

Sadly, too many people are willing to call a weedpatch or un-mowed lawn a different name in an effort to make themselves feel better about the mess, or fool their neighbors into thinking their neglect was a carefully planned creation.

If you like it, keep it. Call it a meadow, glade...Call it 'Timothy Coverfield the Fifth' if you like.

Gardens should be fun and express your personality. Don't worry about labels.

RE: Is my yard already a meadow???

When we moved to our NW IN 10 acres about 5 years ago, I let most of the acreage grow up wild just to see what would come up. I mow paths through my meadows until fall when I mow the whole thing down. I don't know all my grasses but there are several different kinds of grasses, tons of Queen Anne's Lace, red clover, yellow cinquefoil, Prunella Vulgaris [Heal All], violets, field pussytoes, some kind of wild asters and a few other wild flowers. Granted it gets kind of weedy looking once the QA lace is done blooming but when they are in bloom, we have several kinds of butterflies. I mow it all down in the fall to keep invasive plants like honeysuckle from taking over. I would like to add more kinds of wildflowers for a little more color in summer, but I have counted nearly 100 different wild "herbs" on my property and find it amazing what you can get when you don't mow or insist on artificially manicured lawns. It is interesting to note what blooms in each season and how the meadows evolve from year to year.
I may try to cultivate a section and plant a wildflower mix just to get a little more variety going and see how that goes. But yes, I call it my meadow and realize it may look like an uncultivated weedpatch to others, but as an herbalist I know the value of dandelions, and plantain etc.and take joy in knowing it is there.

RE: Is my yard already a meadow???

It is necessary to mow your meadow down in the fall to prevent fire. The prairie used to be a big bonfire every few years, set either on purpose or by accident. These things are gigantic fire hazards if left to themselves.
I usually try to burn down the neighborhood here every few years myself.

RE: Is my yard already a meadow???

Check out this meadow landscaping company just south of the MS-LA line.

Here is a link that might be useful: Meadowmakers

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