Stuck Foot In The Meadow

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“I hold that the best purpose of a garden is to give delight and to give refreshment of mind, to soothe, to refine, and to lift up the heart in a spirit of praise and thankfulness.”  ~Gertrude Jekyll

 

 

 

One of the best spots to spend time in my garden is the meadow.  It lies just beyond the back gate.  A wild area that is in bloom for three seasons.  But it still retains its beauty during its non-blooming stage, from late fall through winter.

It is one of the most peaceful places to visit or observe, and I thought it would be a perfect spot to do a Stuck Foot post.  Planting my foot, and taking time to view what is at the soil level to the top of the trees.  Looking at it all.  I call this process, Stuck Foot, which came to me from Lucy@Loose and Leafy with her idea of a Stuck Foot meme which happens around the 21st of every other month.

So on this winter’s day, we are headed to The Meadow…..

 

 

 

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To get to The Meadow, we have walk to the back fence and the pergola beyond the trees of my Center Garden.  Just on the other side of the fence.  This is my first view of it from the patio as I look past the White Garden and Gazebo in early winter, when we had no snow.

 

 

 

to the meadow collage

So let’s walk beside the Arch Garden and through the Arch, to where the bird house is on the fringe of the Bog Garden, and up to the pergola and gate.  This is our gateway to The Meadow.

 

 

 

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Looking over the gate you see The Meadow, sleeping now.  A well-worn path leads us back.

 

 

 

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As I work my way back along the path, we come to a bird house and one of the open compost piles with lots of brush and garden debris.  These piles are favorites of the critters.  The top right photo is looking left in the meadow, and the bottom photo is looking right.  There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the view.  All is brown and dried, but I think we will head right.

 

 

 

ground collage

Let’s stop close to the other bird house out here.  Both attract sparrows, swallows and bluebirds.  As you can see it is quite muddy here, and slippery as the meadow’s soil is dense clay.  Growing on the floor of the meadow now is moss (left), new growth of lupines or Lupinus perennis (right) and ox-eye daisies or Leucanthemum vulgare (top) emerging again.

 

 

 

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And once I look up, I see goldenrods or native Solidago.  And those round balls down the stems are called, goldenrod galls.  Galls are abnormal plant growths caused by certain insects feeding on the plant. There are substances in the insect’s saliva that causes the plant to grow this ball, that both feeds and protects the insect larva that lives inside. Galls usually do not harm the plants.  There are a few kinds of galls, and I found two different types in my meadow.

 

 

 

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The most common is the ball-shaped one pictured here, and made by the Goldenrod Gall Fly, Eurosta solidaginis. Fly larva grows inside the gall from spring through winter, and waits to emerge in spring.  Another type of gall is pictured at the top of the post.  It is made by the Goldenrod Gall Midge, Rhopalomyia solidaginis. This gall is a tight cluster of small leaves at the top of a stalk, and is called a bunch gall, rosette gall or flower gall. It stops the main stem of the goldenrod from growing.

 

 

 

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If we look beyond the galls, we see a sea of goldenrod in this section of The Meadow.  Some of it growing to almost 10 feet tall, swallowing up the bird house and giving the birds, and other critters, lots of protection.

 

 

 

teasel collage

And behind all the goldenrod is the Wild Area where teasel grows.  It is an invasive non-native plant here, that I try to keep out of The Meadow, as it will take over if not kept in check. 

 

 

 

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Focusing closer and a bit to the right, we can see many types of dried flowers.  Top left is a native aster (now called Symphyotrichum), native goldenrod (top right) and dried ribbon grass or Phalaris arundinacea (bottom), which can also become invasive.

 

 

 

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These pea pods are actually the seed heads of the lupines or Lupinus perennis that have popped open.

 

 

 

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As we turn right a bit more to face the rising sun, the goldenrod glows.

 

 

 

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Shifting my gaze again to the right, now the gazebo comes into view.

 

 

 

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And as I look up, I am gazing at this magnificent white ash on the other side of the fence in the White Garden.

 

 

 

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Bringing my gaze down and still further right, we are now looking at the remnants of a few more plants growing here:  Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), Rudbeckia and Echinacea.  They are not as numerous as the goldenrod, but add splashes of wonderful color.

 

 

 

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Well that is all for now, at least on this side of The Meadow.  Let’s get back to the path, where we can see the back of my house and the garden beyond the gate.

 

 

 

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Most winters the snow and wind break down the dried plants here.  I am not sure what will happen this winter.  We may have to cut it all back by hand.  Well I will worry about that in about 3 months.  As we get to the gate, I bit you farewell from The Meadow.  Perhaps in spring we will visit this space again to see how it has changed.

 

 

UPDATE:

snowy meadow

It snowed soon after I took the pictures of the meadow for this post.  I thought I would add the snowy views of The Meadow garden so you can enjoy them as much as I do.  It takes on a new life when covered with snow.

 

 

Have you ever stuck your foot in your garden or any space and looked closely to see what is there?  Give it a try.   

 

 

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The Great Backyard Bird Count is coming February 12-15, 2016.  You can read how to participate here.  It is always a wonderful winter activity for me, and I hope you will join in too!

 

 

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In A Vase On Monday 

 

 

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In honor of this close-up look at the meadow, I cut several dried flowers in the meadow (once some snow melted), and made a vase.

 

 

 

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I love how the goldenrod or Solidago and Joe Pye or Eutrochium purpureum nestle together to form a thick bunch of fluff.  I also tucked a few Monarda didyma I found around the lip of the vase.

 

I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

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Next up on the blog:  

Monday, I will have another native plant profile…do join me.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her blog, Rambling Woods.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday. 

 

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I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2016.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only. 

111 comments

  1. Ginnie says:

    Oh, how delightful, Donna. I just returned from grocery shopping (on a day that is finally below freezing) and took loads of macros of ice crystals on the plants I passed coming home. At some points, I guess you could say I was “stuck-foot,” but only in a macro sense. HA! It’s a great idea, of course, and one I’ll try to remember the next time I’m in a special spot. Thanks again for the inspiration.

    • Donna says:

      Driving around seeing these roadside meadows here made me really appreciate the beauty of a meadow…and of course I just had to have one! Glad you enjoyed it too Christina!

  2. Annette says:

    Jekyll was so right. And yes, I also love being in the meadows, so much to see. Yours is a very sophisticated one though. It looks wonderful and I’d love to explore it with my camera. Our meadow is being grazed after the orchid flowering. Your vase is very suitable for this month. Happy monday, Donna 🙂

  3. Eileen says:

    Good morning, I just love the quote you started your post with, it is beautiful. Lovely images from your gardens and the meadow. The birds and critters must love making their home or visit your yard. Great post! Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

  4. Life Images by Jill says:

    I love your “stuck foot” view. So wonderful to take time to just look. And I also loved your views with the snow, as at the beginning of your post I was wondering when it was going to snow! Have a wonderful week.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jill! We are behind with snow here. It just started this month and we have had a little over 3 feet. Way behind, but I am not complaining. Three feet is a good blanket to protect to garden.

  5. Susie says:

    The green vase makes a perfect container for the dried materials from your meadows. The lupines provide a lot of interest this time of year. I would like to plant more–just one currently! Have a great week Donna and enjoy the snow.

  6. Cathy says:

    Thank you for sharing the meadow with us on a Monday, Donna – I don’t remember seeing it before and what a wonderful resource it is. Fascinating information about the galls – and to see the snow covering in the late pictures! The dried flowers in your lovely green vase look as if they still have snow on them! Thanks for sharing everything with us today.

    • Donna says:

      It is my pleasure to share this amazing garden Cathy. I planted the seed and tend it, but nature is the gardener. I have lots of requests to share it more often so I probably will either here and/or on my other blog. I thought the fluffy seedheads looked like snow too and for a while I was unsure if that was all we might be getting. Another 2 feet this week so the garden is happy.

  7. Judy@CranberryMorning says:

    I love the meadow photos, the seed pods and lupine leaves. For some reason, I cannot grow lupines, much to my dismay. They grow wild in the meadows and ditches north of us, and we’re on loamy sand, which I thought they liked. I’m going to write down that quotation at the beginning of your post. Lovely!

    • Donna says:

      Oh I hope you have luck growing the wild lupines, if you try again. Mine are grown in clay soil. Seeds cast and walked on in late fall. That was it. They took about 2 years to grow and flower. Glad you enjoyed the quote and post Judy!

  8. starr white says:

    i really enjoyed this post! we have a wild meadow behind our house too, and it is one of my favorite places. Right now, the broom sedge is the star of the winter show. In low light it is a gorgeous coppery bronze color, but when the sun comes out it is all golden sparkles. I love my meadow, and I really enjoyed getting a peek at yours.

  9. Donna says:

    Your meadow is wonderful in all seasons. I like it in the snow too. I like how you named all your gardens and have so many of them. We got snow too, this storm finally reinforced that we have hit winter. Our meadows still have plants standing as well. I had to finally cut my garden down this year after the birds picked the plants clean. Many years the wind takes down the native plants.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Donna….the snow is taking down much of the meadow now so we won’t have to cut much if any. And I was thinking I wanted to cut back more of the garden once the birds picked it clean, but winter is here. The wind and snow definitely does take care of many natives thankfully making my job in spring easier! 🙂

  10. Frank says:

    The meadow holds so much interest, even now as after everything has dried up and gone to sleep. Thanks for the visit, and thanks for introducing me to the ‘stuck foot’ idea, love it!

  11. Beth @ PlantPostings says:

    You definitely have some winter interest going on in your garden. This is a great illustration of not only the importance of leaving dried stems and seedheads for wildlife, but also how beautiful they can be bathed in winter sunlight, and also with a fresh coating of snow. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Exactly Beth. It has taken me some time to learn how important it is to leave plants be for winter for wildlife and my pleasure!

  12. Noelle says:

    Thanks for your tour of your meadow…such beauty created by the plants bathed in low winter light captured by your camera. I can see that insects have a safe haven there…a little bit of heaven for you. Thanks for sharing it with us and showing us your vase for this week.

  13. Hannah says:

    Your garden has so much winter interest and cover for the birds, they must love it. The dried flowers look great in the wonderful luminous vase, such a pretty sheen. I like your pergola and gazebo too, Donna.

  14. eliza waters says:

    Isn’t this a strange winter with so little snow? Your meadow looks lovely with a light dusting. I like your dried vase this week. I haven’t been motivated to contribute with so little material to hand, but yours is inspiring!

    • Donna says:

      It was until this month eliza…we had 2 lake effect snow storms and now have 3 ft of snow covering the garden. So glad you enjoyed the vase!

  15. Kris P says:

    I loved the trip to your meadow, Donna! How wonderful to have a space like that! I hope you’ll take us on another tour in spring or summer.

  16. Cathy says:

    This was a really interesting and enjoyable post Donna. First of all, I really love that first quote! The galls are fascinating. I have never seen them on goldenrod here, so perhaps we don’t have that fly. We do have teasels though – I have to be so careful they don’t invade the garden too! A shame they are so invasive as the seedheads are so pretty. And your vase is lovely. The last of the goldenrod in my garden has flopped in our snow and ice, but I still may be able to salvage a few pieces. A great idea!

    • Donna says:

      I bet you don’t have the fly there Cathy as I would bet they are native here. I agree the teasel are so pretty and so nasty if you get in the middle of them.

  17. rickii says:

    I’ve been lobbying hard for a meadow, so I thank you for supplying this beautiful ammunition. And yes, please do keep us updated as it changes through the year.

    • Donna says:

      My pleasure….there is nothing like a meadow! I do love to wander out there often during the growing time, so I will be sure to come back to the meadow here.

  18. Paul Erickson says:

    Nice story about the goldenrod fly gall! Seen any mantis egg cases? We’ve found 5 so far in our nearby, treasured meadow (which the red, staghorn sumac is trying to turn in to a forest).

    • Donna says:

      My red twig dogwood does the same forest behavior in the meadow. I have not seen mantis eggs but I will look for them Paul..thanks for alerting me.

  19. Patty says:

    How nice to have a meadow in your backyard. I can imagine a warm summers day, hat on, quietly pushing my way through all the plants, rustling behind.

  20. Sallie (FullTime-Life) says:

    I love the stuck foot concept and keep meaning to try it … I learned to slow down and appreciate life and nature by taking macro photos .. I can see that the stuck foot would do the same. You planted your foot in a beautiful serene spot!

  21. Ramblingwoods says:

    I really need to do this as you really do see so much more and I get a real sense of your garden..the galls are interesting. There aren’t any on any of the goldenrod that I have planted…Michelle

  22. Stephanie says:

    My, my, my, what stunning photos! I thoroughly enjoyed each picture and collage. Thank you so much for sharing such a delightful post!

    Have a beautiful week! Hugs!

  23. bettyl-NZ says:

    There’s beauty even in winter and your photos prove that! I think it also gives hope for spring flowers to come. Lovely shots and the snow just adds a bit of its own loveliness.

  24. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    love seeing the garden perspectives from the stuck foot view and wonder if this year you are going to stick with the meadow and log its varying aspects of growth and flower and back to dormancy.

    I like how you have used this area for composting brush and garden debris too

    and even in dormancy, the close-ups reveal the coming year as well as the withered beauty of stem and seedhead – the mass planting brings out the architectural effects wonderfully but for that a gardener needs lots of land -a scarcity in the UK ;(

  25. Sara - My Woodland Garden says:

    So much beauty in this post, Donna! The texts are very interesting and the photos have especially lovely light and colours.
    I think most of use agree, wholeheartedly, with Jekyll on the purpose and meaning of gardens.
    I finally published my new year post with some links to your posts. I hope you find the texts acceptable. I have found writing (in English) particularly difficult in these days. Must be the severe frost! 🙂
    Thank you for your lovely posts and have a great week ahead!

    • Donna says:

      So happy you enjoyed the meadow Sara!

      And I adore your post…I just left a comment….in whatever language you write in, it is bliss! Wishing you a beautiful week too!

  26. Dawn@Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes says:

    It’s so lovely to be mindful of all the beauty around us with your ‘stuck foot’ garden observations. Your meadow is gorgeous in the winter, especially after a gentle snowfall. I must remember to do some ‘stuck foot’ observations in my garden this year! Thank you for a wonderful post! ♡

  27. Island Threads says:

    Donna I was admiring the round (seedheads) in your photos and then of course read that they are not seedheads, it is interesting and nature is fascinating in the ways creatures develop means to protect their young, the photos are nice both the dry and the snowy, it must look most glorious frosted, I didn’t realise the teasels are not native to the Americas, I assume they were brought over by early settlers, they have a lot to answer for with the number of invasive European plants they introduced, odd isn’t it the teasel grows very well in your garden, it is native here and I couldn’t get it to grow, such is the way of things, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Yes Frances the teasel was brought here and grows easily especially in our clay….I agree there are many invasive plants brought here that have been an issue.

  28. Hannah Gosselin says:

    Awe-strikingly-inspiring, Donna. So many beauties to see and my favorite is the lit goldenrod. Thank you, for sharing the immensity of your stuck-footedness…such a gift. 🙂

  29. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    You know how I love meadows! I think they are especially spectacular in their dormant stage with all the seed structures. Those goldenrod galls are spectacular! Do you ever observe birds eating from them?

    • Donna says:

      You know Karin I have not observed the birds eating from the galls, but I will try to pay attention this spring especially when the insect eaters come back to nest.

  30. Elizabeth Worthington says:

    Although I came by to see your Monday vase Donna, I found the whole post so interesting. I like the idea of your Stuck Foot – might try the exercise for myself although I don’t have a fabulous meadow to photograph. All the information you give about the goldenrod and it’s galls is fascinating. My father grew a ‘hedge’ of goldenrod in our garden a very long time ago and I don’t remember noticing any galls in it back then. I love your arrangement – the fluffiness is lovely and looks perfect in the green vase.

    • Donna says:

      So happy you loved the whole post Elizabeth….using the stuck foot method is wonderful no matter the space you are viewing…so much is noticed when you stop and look at one space.

  31. orchid (Japan) says:

    Dearest Dona;  What amazingly beautiful meadow and your pictures♡♡♡  Your captures are so wonderful and I LOVE the way you arrange them as well♪
    The quote is the perfect match for this post.

    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend, xoxo Miyako*

  32. My Little Home and Garden says:

    I enjoyed touring all of your winter garden and seeing the variety of plants growing in your meadow. You have such an appreciation for your beautiful surroundings and it show in your beautiful photos and words.

    Karen

  33. DeniseinVA says:

    Hi Donna, another beautiful post. Hope your weather up there is okay as I know the whole East Coast seems to be in for quite a storm this weekend. Ours has just started falling.

    To make it a little easier for friends who have participated in Today’s Flowers, I am adding a link when I pop in to comment.

    http://anenglishgirlrambles2016.blogspot.com/2016/01/todays-flowers-383-january-22nd-2016.html

    Happy weekend to you and thank you for being such a good friend to Today’s Flowers, as I appreciate you popping in even when you don’t have any flowers to share 🙂

  34. debsgarden says:

    As I was admiring your meadow at the beginning of your post, I wondered if it is all be covered in snow by now! Thanks for the update. The goldenrod galls may be abnormal, but they lend real interest. I don’t know if I have ever told you how much I like your gazebo. It is especially lovely from your stuck-foot view.

  35. Indie says:

    We have a detention pond out back that I am turning into a meadow (or ‘muddow’ as we call it now, as it is so muddy). There is a lot of goldenrod in mine too, some with galls. Yours look almost deliberate and artistic! It’s so neat to see such an area attract wildlife, too!

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