Creating a Meadow, Part One

For eons I’ve been imagining that it would be possible to convert the lawn in the front garden to something more imaginative. Like a meadow. In my imagination I have envisioned longer grasses, clovers, wild violets, lupine and perhaps some Queen Anne’s lace. Simple, poetic, appealing to the Pisces soul. And so I began.

Interestingly (or not) the lawn out front is composed of two distinct canvases, one of which I’ve named, aptly and appropriately, The Meadow and the other half (the small half, I say, comforting myself) is the Evil Half. And I’ll tell you why. But first The Meadow in making.

I began by saying, “I’m never mowing this lawn again,” and, to prove my point, put my lawn mower out front with a free sign on it and a postman pulled up within 45 minutes and asked if it was, indeed, free. It was. Gone.

And I simply let the lawn grow. This allowed me to begin to explore what was growing out there, what I’d inherited when I moved here over a decade ago, because, as I was soon to find out, if you continue to simply mow grass down, chances are, and my chances were really, really good, you won’t really know what’s afoot. Literally. Haha.

In The Meadow half of my lawn (the Big Half) I was not disappointed. The clovers grew out and spread. My cousin in Ohio ID’d them as White Dutch Clovers and I immediately went to the local feed store and bought a bag of seeds to multiply their presence, charmed as I was by them.

And I was especially fond of those growing in a family at the entrance to the property.

At the back of The Meadow are wild violets, finding their place in the scheme of things, and the borders are filled with ferns, white lilac, spirea, and enormous soft pink camellias. So this is going really well and leaves little to be desired, really. I’ll be adding other choices little by little.

Meanwhile, the Evil Half of the lawn, on the other side of the walkway, apparently has a very dodgy history. For what I’m discovering are the likes of the very plants you never want to hear are growing in your garden. All together. In one big patch. Lucky me.

*Dreaded burclover (Looks so innocent, right? Has a lovely tiny little five petal flower. Totally fooled me!)

*Poa, aka annual bluegrass

*Bermuda grass

*And bedstraw, aka cleavers, catchweed, stickyweed, robin-run-the-hedge (!), stickywilly (do tell), stickyjack, and grip grass. You get the picture. 😉

After stewing for a couple of days and suppressing tears of frustration I resigned myself to the practical solution of resuming mowing that half, the small half full of wicked stepsisters, back into obedient oblivion. Shopping for a small electric mower.

But I’m moderately grateful for the horticulture lesson.

And the bright light is that I planted a lot of crimson clover seeds (guess where?) and I have meticulously transplanted them into the Beautiful Meadow, where they will thrive, I have no doubt. And then they will look like this.

Won’t that be so pretty?

Thank you for letting me share my emerging Meadow story. It’s been a joy and learning experience and I highly recommend considering letting go of your lawns. My Border Collies are loving walking through the grasses, chasing toys each early morning!

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

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14 Responses to “Creating a Meadow, Part One”

  1. What an interesting journey. Such a bummer about the Burclover, but that Crimson Clover will be pretty! Xoxo

  2. Hi, Antonia! Thanks! Yes, I’m enjoying sorting it out and it’s become a kind of sacred spot in its own right. There must be something about letting a plant live as it was designed to live, rather than controlling its true nature. As someone who loves metaphors as I do, this is a really good one! Love, Mom xoxo

  3. Allowing things to be their authentically wild (nature) self is a great metaphor!

  4. Synchronicity, right? 🙂 Also, unless you DO let living beings (plants, animals, people) be themselves, you really won’t know what you’ve got. (And neither will they!) <3

  5. Kathryn,
    I call that sticky plant “Velcro Weed”. Once I have walked through it, it clings to my legs or pants and travels with me! Wonder if they have the “cash for grass” program where you are? The bermuda grass I removed and replaced with crushed opalite (for a casual petanque court) was all paid for by this terrific incentive/water-saving program. Come to Sonoma and toss boules with me! (Always enjoy seeing that your writings have been posted.)

  6. Hi, Carol! Yes, another name for bedstraw–velcro weed! Pretty in the beginning and then a bother. Wonderful that you have that program in Sonoma. I would LOVE to come down and see you tossing boules, which I had to google! And see your garden! Thank you! Nice to see you in comments this morning! Kathryn xoxo

  7. You are always involved with nature …in some creative way.

    I love having you share this with me.
    It is uplifting to my spirit. (something i need right now !!!)

    Your friend, Betsy

  8. Well, if you are ever venturing down this far, please shoot me an email and we shall make plans for a bit of petanque.

  9. Hi, Betsy, Nature is very uplifting! I’m glad I can share with you! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  10. Hi, Carol, Thank you! I look forward to the lesson! Kathryn xoxo

  11. Well, there are some good points about bedstraw. In fact, it is called bedstraw because it was used to stuff bed tickings. It grows all over the Midwest and I’m sure beyond. Settlers who got here by foot, horseback or maybe covered wagon, were not hauling mattresses and didn’t have hay or straw upon putting down roots until they cleared land and grew some, several years later. So, to have a place to lay down their heads, they cut and dried bedstraw and stuffed the tickings that they had brought along.
    I have had the best time helping you sort out what is growing. I’ve learned things as well.

  12. Hi, Julie! Wow! I was wondering why it was called bedstraw and never looked it up! THANK YOU! I love that story! Fascinating! Yes, I have so enjoyed and appreciated your helping me figure out what’s here! You’ve been invaluable! Also props to my neighbor down the road who handed me a book called An Introduction to Plant Taxonomy, published in 1955, as I kept showing up at her door with bits from my garden. 😉 Thanks to you both! Kathryn xoxo

  13. Interesting to me that you are exploring something I have lived with all my life. How different it is here in NYS (upstate) where the abundance of water makes growth quite rampant. My daughter has a lovely poem about enjoying the daisies and queen Ann’s lace which make up the meadow “lawn”.

    Enjoy hearing your adventures.

  14. Hi, Alice! It’s so true our “nature” realities are so different depending on where we live. I’m certain that are natural meadows outside of town. In fact the elderly woman who lives down the street returned from one of her hikes and told me she had stumbled on a meadow filled with wildflowers and she told herself, “THIS is what Kathryn is trying to create.” 🙂 I would love to see your daughter’s poem! Kathryn xoxo

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