“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…..
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.
Looking over the gate you see The Meadow, sleeping now. A well-worn path leads us back.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These pea pods are actually the seed heads of the lupines or Lupinus perennis that have popped open.
As we turn right a bit more to face the rising sun, the goldenrod glows.
Shifting my gaze again to the right, now the gazebo comes into view.
And as I look up, I am gazing at this magnificent white ash on the other side of the fence in the White Garden.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In A Vase On Monday
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.
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.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
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