Grass to Meadow

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A while back I wrote about this.  Practically all summer I was waiting to start this project.  While I have been lamenting the loss of summer’s heat and long days, looking forward to this project has been the only good part of the cooling weather.  We ripped out our small, needless front lawn and replaced that space with native plants.  The plan was to make it look something like this:

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I love the look of the cone flower coming out from the grasses.  So much prettier than trampled grass scorched brown by the neighborhoods’ dogs. While I couldn’t source prairie dropseed or little blue stem for this project, I still managed to acheive the effect.

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Everything has a bit of transplant shock right now… most everything was divided from existing perennials and grasses around the yard.  Echinacea purpurea pop out around the grasses.  Rudbekia are interspersed.  Baptista dominates one corner (I think I have it in blue and white, time will tell!).  Shasta daisy and columbine are in the shadier parts.

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I put some butterfly weed in the sunniest parts.  I divided my stonecrop & hens and chicks- they hold the soil very well.  The yard has a slight slope, so the stonecrop serves to hold it all in place.

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I edged it with repurposed brick from an old bed.  This brick is easily 50 years old and now lines the garden at the edge of the sidewalk.  When placing the plants, I threw a handful of compost into each hole, then top dressed around them.  The soil was fairly compacted and as we ripped out the sod, organic material was lacking.  I finished off the whole production with several inches of composted leaf mulch.  This stuff breaks down fairly quickly, and is almost more like a compost than a mulch.  Next year I may need some more mulch, but I hope that it’ll fill in enough that mulch will become obsolete- the plants will serve as their own living mulch, and I’ll only sprinkle handfuls around when I have to divide something or pull out under-performers.

And boy do I still have plans for this space!

I have some bulbs to add (not native, but after a long New England winter I need daffodils.  Need).  I would love to add an extra bird feeder and maybe a bird bath.  I have plans to add some native bleeding heart.  – I have already put in some Dicentra cucullaria (dutchmen’s breeches) bare roots.  I will probably also transfer some Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) from the backyard in the spring.  I’ll probably also crumble some seed heads around and see what ends up popping up.  I like to shake out the Physostegia virginiana (obediant plant) and Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) and let them spread themselves as they please.  I’m not above annuals either.  Mexican sunflower will for sure make an appearance next year.

Can you tell from my rambling that I’m still exited about my new garden bed?  But now I need a brake.  I moved 2 yards of mulch around today and for that I need a breather.

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