It is the mind which creates the world around us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours, my heart will never stir to the emotions with which yours is touched. ~George Gissing
I know I have posted many times about my meadow. But if you have ever spent time walking amongst wildflowers, watching them sway in the breeze, listening to bees buzzing around and butterflies drifting along as they sample nectar then you know the lure of a meadow. And for me it evokes memories of childhood when I picked and braided wildflowers or brought home nosegays to put in vases.
I have been spending a lot of time in the meadow this year. We planted the meadow about 5 years ago with no idea of what we were doing. I chose to use seeds to make it grow in faster or so I thought. And after all this time, the meadow continues to grow and delight. As the soil was disturbed from building the house, we have also been battling many invasive weeds (non-native plants) in the meadow. This year it is the teasel, thistle and Queen Anne’s lace. I am more concerned about the teasel as it creates a monoculture forcing out the lovely natives. We will work on controlling the others while adding more native plants you would see in a meadow.
I wish I had a good resource when I started the meadow, and about a year ago I found just the resource in the book I am reviewing below, Urban and Suburban Meadows. I am linking in with Holley@Roses and Other Gardening Joys and her monthly Garden Book Review meme that takes place on the 20th of every month, and Gail@ Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday.
by Catherine Zimmerman
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Matrix Media Press (June 1, 2010)
List Price: $ 29.95
Amazon Price: $19.77 (Paperback)
In A Few Words
The book is broken into easily understood sections or step-by-step instructions to help you learn the basics of making a meadow:
- Site Preparation
- Meadow Design
- Establishing A Meadow
- Maintaining A Meadow
- Meadow Plant List
- Regional Resources
- General Resources
The author has extensive expertise and is a certified horticulturist and landscape designer as well as being accredited in organic land care. She worked with four other experts to lend their extensive knowledge base to the book in the areas of site preparation, design, native plants, planting and maintenance. In addition to the how to’s of making a meadow, this book also has comprehensive plant lists, local resources and nine US regional resource sections.
Throughout the book the author reminds us that meadows can be beneficial to the habitat and wildlife no matter the size. She also expresses her desire to see gardeners replace more of their lawns and plant a more natural habitat for native plants and wildlife.
What I Liked
I really enjoyed the introduction sections as we are introduced to Catherine and how she became interested in meadows. She also gives compelling arguments about why we should consider meadows instead of lawns. But even if you ignore these sections you cannot ignore the amazing pictures that drawn you in and make you want to have the beauty of a meadow for your own.
Meadows can seem easy to grow but as you will discover there is a lot to consider although it is not overwhelming. The design section alone is a must read if you want to plant a natural looking native plant garden whether it is a meadow or not. It goes into enough depth about site analysis, what plants are right for your site and how it will change over time. There is also a section about design aesthetics: size of plants to consider, color, where you are planting and adding paths.
The section on planting seeds or plants is important as they go into the details of how long each takes to establish and the pros and cons for each. But I think the most important section is the maintenance as most people think you just plant it and leave it alone. There is some maintenance that must be done as in any garden, and it will save you so much time and aggravation later on.
If these sections don’t hook you, the extensive plant section is well worth the price of the book. There are not many pictures of the flowers that are listed, but based on the sun and soil conditions you have, you can compile a list and look the plants up yourself.
Not So Much
The book does a nice job trying to cover plants and regions found throughout the US, although there is more of a focus on the eastern half of the US. And the sections on all the regions and plants certainly gives tons of information with the emphasis on finding local resources as “providing plants native to your area is a key element in the successful outcome of your meadow or prairie planting.”
From personal experience, I can tell you that the design, planting and maintenance elements need to be carefully considered before you start the process of constructing a meadow so that it is successful, less work and less expensive in the long run. And this will be my manual as I assess my meadow and work on some redesigning especially the large empty areas left by the invasive teasel. As I have learned from this book, what to plant is only part of the plan.
I met the author, Catherine Zimmerman, virtually as she is part of the team blogging at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. Catherine told me that she created the book to, “Make it easy for people to have success by giving clear instructions. They will be less likely to give up and go back to lawns” this way. I think Catherine has accomplished this creating an easy to follow manual chock full of information and specific instructions to help anyone create a beautiful meadow or natural planting in a large or small area. I believe ‘meadowscaping’ may just be the wave of the future, and I for one look forward to seeing more of these natural native plantings throughout the country once again.
How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold. ~William Wordsworth
Don’t forget that September 1st marks the next installment of Seasonal Celebrations/Garden Lessons Learned. Click the link to learn more. Beth@PlantPostings will be wrapping up this past season with lessons we have learned in our gardens, and I will be setting the stage for next season’s celebrations (fall up N and spring down S of the equator). What do you love to do in the this upcoming season? What holidays or rituals make it a wonderful season for you? How does your garden grow and what favorite plants will be blooming? I hope you will be joining us. Just create a post and link in with both or one of us between September 1st and the 20th, and around the 21st we will reveal those lessons and celebrations.
Next up on the blog: Work has been extremely busy and will be for a while so I had to shift a few posts. My Simply The Best post will now be next Monday. And the Seasonal Celebrations will still be September 1st.
I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
I hope you will join me for my posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.
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