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Crow’s Nest: Meadow progression

September 1, 2015

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager

I like before-and-after pictures, but I’m not always good about getting the “before.” Here’s one from our meadow establishment at Crow’s Nest, where I was drilling holes that volunteers filled with plugs of wildflowers. This was spring of 2014.

Fast forward just over a year and the former lawn is more diverse in species and structure, and more beautiful.

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I am pleased that both this tiny meadow at Crow’s Nest, and the larger one we planted by seed around the same time at Green Hills Preserve, have a good progression of wildflowers, and therefore nectar sources, throughout the summer. The meadow doesn’t look like this all summer, other flowers dominate other months.

Both meadows also have a component of plants we chose and seeded or planted, plus a number of others we didn’t plant (but don’t mind, like the spikes of mullein in the photo above—it’s not so aggressive that it threatens the diversity we desire). Others we’d really not have, but they will drop out as the meadow matures; I count foxtail grass in this category and hope that mare’s tail will also be.

And of course there are also some plants that we feel we must remove or else they will threaten our goals for the meadow: Japanese hops, multiflora rose, and Canada thistle fall into this category in this small meadow.

So the meadow is not no-maintenance but low-maintenance.  It sure beats mowing the lawn and I hope people driving by enjoy it.

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