Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Wildflower Meadow

Many of you will have seen my previous post on the state of my lawn.  As the season progresses my 'lawn' is progressing as well.  Like the blooms in our gardens the lawn is changing as the seasons pass.  Gone are the dandelions, replaced with Mouse Ear Hawkweed.  Identified thanks to WiseAcre Gardens

Another lovely yellow flower is the buttercups

These little white flowers are now blooming in masses.

I think this is Star Chickweed, Stellaria corei but I could be wrong.  If anyone knows better just holler.

The red and green grasses are reaching proper grass height - high enough to hide a cat!

The grasses are also catching the wind these days.  It's like watching waves roll across the yard.  A beautiful sight.

I should make it clear that if you would like to have a wildflower meadow on your property just letting the grass grow, as we have done here, is not the normal way of doing this.  In fact, if you have a nicely kept lawn full of actual lawn grass the worst thing you can do is let it grow.  Lawn grass is specially picked and bred to have nice wide green leaves.  Softer to walk on and pretty to look at.  But when it is allowed to grow tall it simply flops over, forming little puddles of grass.  The effect is not what most people are looking for.  We have managed to get away with simply letting our grass grow because our lawn didn't consist of lawn grass at all.  It was simply a cleared field and we are allowing it to regenerate itself.  So it was naturally full of wild flowers (or weeds if you prefer) and wild grasses.  Creating a meadow garden is just like planting a regular garden.  You need to remove your lawn grass and replace it with native grasses and wildflowers.  It must also be weeded initially so that your new plants don't get choked out.  Like any garden there's work involved but it's also a wonderful opportunity to use native plants and create an environment that is conducive to birds and insects.  I can't tell you how many bees there are in my yard.  The place is alive with buzzing and it makes me happy every time I walk out there.

If you're thinking of starting a wildflower area in your garden you might want to look at the following books:

Gardening with Grasses       The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn

I can't vouch for either of these books unfortunately as I haven't had the opportunity to read them yet. However, Carpe Geum has reviewed the American Meadow Garden and it looks promising.

If you don't know where to find native seeds I also managed to dig up this nursery in Ontario which sells native plant seeds.  A bonus - you can search for seeds local to your area!


  1. I love buttercups! My back grass is full of weeds and wildflowers. Some are quite beautiful.

  2. Check the leaves. Star Chickweed has broad leaves, Lesser Stitchwort - Stelleria graminea has narrow. My lawn has the alien stitchwort.

    The mad mower has returned home and my 'wildflower meadow' looks like a lawn once again.

  3. @Laura - I once heard buttercups suck up all the nutrients in your soil and that's why people consider them a weed. But how else does a plant survive? weird. I like how shiny they are.

    @ WiseAcre - I had to come home and yank some of this stuff out of the ground to get a good look at it and sure enough, you're spot on! Lesser Stitchwort it is. The Mad Mower strikes again.