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Making a Meadow Garden

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Posted in Bergen County Landscape Design Ideas

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Establishing a meadow garden in a large, open space on your property will provide you with the benefits of a dynamic, large-scale garden that can be enjoyed from near or far. This feature will provide color and texture throughout the year, habitat for local wildlife, and a great source of cut flowers to bring into the house.  The best meadow gardens are composed of a mix of annuals, creeping perennial plants, self sowing annuals and perennials, biennials, and grasses.  

When creating a meadow garden of your own, it’s important that existing plants and (more importantly) seeds that are in the future meadow area are properly removed.  I would suggest excavating out the existing grass, roots and most of the topsoil and letting the area sit fallow for one whole growing season.  This will decrease future weed competition with your future meadow plants, which desire less nutrition than traditional landscape plants.  With meadows, the harder and flintier the soil the better.

A good portion of the plants you use will be self-sowing, meaning that they will produce seed during the year and then drop it to the ground.  In this manner, the meadow plants will start to self-perpetuate and help keep the weeds choked out. Seeds from the current crop can also be collected and then started in your basement over the winter.  As you pull out invasive weeds, you have something new already grown to pop into that spot.  Make your life easier and keep up with the weeds by avoiding open space in your garden.

Delphinium (below)

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Here are some of my favorite self-sowing perennials for a meadow garden:

Foxglove (Digitalis), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea), Beardtongues (Penstemon), Hummingbird Mints (Agastache), ‘Parker’s Gold’ Yarrow*, Tickseed (Coreopsis), Maximilian’s Sunflower (Helianthus), Sage (Salvia), Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera), Delphinium, Blue Flax (Linum), Perky Sue (Hymenoxys), Columbine (Aquilegia), Jupiter’s Beard* (Centranthus), Blanket Flower (Gaillardia), Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida), Native Grasses such as ‘Blaze’ Little Blue Stem (Schizachyrium) and Indian Grass (Sorgastrum)

 Blue Flax (below)

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