• Stomping down the Autumn meadow

    by  • September 9, 2011 • Meadow project • 9 Comments

    Last Fall I decided to rid an area of weeds and grow a California native and hand-sown
     meadow. Here is the end of the season story and evaluation.

    The meadow in September

    The meadow in September

    Stomping the Meadow

    Ever since the meadow started growing, I’ve been thinking in advance, for when the ‘off season’ came.  It’s here, and the meadow is dry and golden.  I love my meadow, even in this stage… I like the look of it and how the seed heads are forming and the afternoon light coming through it.

    In the foreground is Lavender, Rosemary, Wyethia and Big Bush artemisia

    In the foreground is Lavender, Rosemary, Wyethia and Big Bush artemisia

    When I thought of fall in the meadow, I planned on having Tractor Man use the weedeater to neaten up the area , but now I’ve changed my mind. While walking through the meadow and watering the still green Muhly grass, the Blue flax and the Yarrow, I noticed that the dry grasses and tall seed heads of the Globe Gilia could easily be flattened as I stepped on it.  I stepped a little more and thought why not just flatten it out by ‘foot’?

    Part stomped down leaving heermann's tarweed, Yarrow and Muhly grass,...cool!

    Very dry Vulpia grass and Poppies and still green Heermann’s tarweed, Yarrow and Muhly grass,…cool!

    The weedeater and its ‘operator’ would not be as discriminating as the ‘sower of the meadow.’   Everything would go flying brown and green alike. Plus, less work for ‘someone.’  That is what I did then. 

    Stomp, stomp

    Stomp, stomp

    Very dry Mullein, Agastache, Sage and Yarrow

    Very dry Mullein, Agastache, Sage and Yarrow

    Future plans:

    • I will have to wait to see how many seeds will sprout from the mix sown a year ago. to complete the experiment, I won’t sow frAbout Sierra Foothill Gardenesh seed there this fall, but wait and see.
    • I plan to sow fresh seed in a wildflower border along one of the paths. Three to four feet wide will hopefully add some color and spread more native seed in the garden area.
    •  I do plan to carefully rake a bit of the ‘straw’ left on the ground of the meadow and lay it down, seeds and all, in this planned ‘border’ area of the garden.  I also plan to sow some native Rudbeckia hirta along with it.
    • I’ve saved the seed of the tallest Globe Gilia to also be sown in that area.
    Dry and stomped meadow

    Dry and stomped meadow

    Evaluation:
    A CA Native seeded meadow is possible.
    It takes some weeding.
    Bare spots happen.
    Seeds wash down hill sprout where they can.
    Meadows need a little water.
    Meadows can fit into a garden with perennials.
    Meadows are so enjoyable for months of the year.

    Meadow color

    Meadow color in summer

    Planning to sow a meadow this Fall? Catch up on how I did mine!  Super fun!

    The Meadow project, month by month
    What am I really doing in the garden in October?  Planning and removing weeds
    Do you dream of a natural and beautiful wildflower meadow?  Finding and sowing seeding
    Let’s check for progress on the meadow!  Weeding and watching the weather
    How to weed a meadow in the Sierra Foothills  More weeding…letting the sprouts thrive
    Let’s check on Fall and Winter projects!  Identifying seedlings
    The wildflower meadow in May   Small triumphs
    My California native meadow in June  Starting to bloom
    The midsummer meadow  The peak bloom
    Stomping down the Autumn meadow  Neatening up
    Native California meadow in the second year

    2011-5-5 California native meadow in May, the ideal image in my head and now in reality!

    2011-5-5 California native meadow in May, the ideal image in my head and now in reality!

    July meadow

    July meadow

    Meadow in May, poppies, bird's eye gilia and tidytips mostly. Pacific fescue is blooming

    Meadow in May, poppies, bird’s eye gilia and tidytips mostly. Pacific fescue is blooming

    All the wild color make the Brodiaea look subdued.

    All the wild color make the Brodiaea look subdued.

     

    ***

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    9 Responses to Stomping down the Autumn meadow

    1. September 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      I think your meadow turned out fabulously. I wish we could do that, to that extent, here. We had a few bright spots, in spring, but then the voles systematically obliterated many of the blooms. I’m not sure what might pop up next year, perhaps some of the goldfields, nemaphila or poppies, but as much as I’d like to see what will sprout, until our voles are under control, I’m probably going to have to keep the area closely trimmed to the ground from late winter onward. I’m hoping once the fruit trees have matured to try at least some wildlife ‘islands’, rather than a meadow, but we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime I’ll have to live vicariously through your beautiful meadow.

      • September 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

        Clare, I’m so sorry that those darn voles are spoiling your plans! Maybe you’ll find a solution, since they also threaten your veggies.

        We have a man ‘Gopher John’ locally who catches fifty gophers a week. He digs a hole near one of theirs, sets a trap anchored with a screwdriver into the ground so the gopher won’t drag it inside. Then he covers his hole with a wooden roof shingle and if he hasn’t caught one in two hours he goes on to the next. He’s retired though so has a lot of time to do this.

    2. Katie
      September 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      Meadow stomping! So funny! Like grape stomping, only less messy. We are so lucky to be included in this eternal cycle. Your meadow will thrive, don’t you worry.

      • September 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm

        Thanks so much for saying so, Katie, you know, I’ll do whatever I can to keep those weeds away. Little by little out they go, hopefully replaced with more beautiful plants.

    3. September 10, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      What characteristics does a flattened meadow have that names it superior to an untrampled meadow? I’m confused.

    4. September 10, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks, Lisa, …it is an alternative to weed eating to neaten it and let the still-green plants show. After the first rain which we’re having today, I’ll step all over the seedheads still left so the seeds make good soil contact.

      How have you dealt with your late season meadow areas? This is my first CA native planting so I’m still figuring it out. 🙂

    5. September 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      What a great idea! I loved reading about your native meadow. Mine is much smaller than yours, so I’m planning to just pull and shake. Mine is not quite as brown yet, but a lot of the rest of my garden is. It’s hard to look at, but dried seedheads do have a bit of beauty, if you look closely.

      Did I ever thank you for sending me seeds? I don’t think I did. Anyway, thanks!

    6. September 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks, Alison,…I recieved yours as well and thanks so much! A lot of the ‘stomped down’ seedheads have blown around in the strong winds we’ve been having. It will be interesting to see if they pop up in new places next spring. The more native seeds the better, I think. I do think this time of year is beautiful…just grooming a bit now and working on paths.

    7. Pingback: The wildflower meadow in May | Sierra Foothill Garden

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