Ever hear of meadow-in-a-can? It's a clever marketing idea but ever so misleading to the would-be grower. A wildflower meadow is a special type of growing space, not a place where we toss some seeds and hope for the best.
A meadow isn't a lawn gone wild.
A self-sustaining meadow is a mixture of grasses and wildflowers. "Wildflower" is a general term that refers to flowering perennials and self-seeding annuals that volunteer in unmanaged spaces. Mixed grasses, however, are 40 to 70 percent of the plants in a meadow.
If a meadow were a building, you might say that grasses form the frame. These are not the stuff of lawns, either, but a mixture of cool-season and warm-season bunching grasses.
Another misconception is that constant flowering can be achieved in the first year. It often takes several.
Furthermore, in the nature of southern New England, a meadow is only one stage in a progression of natural ground covers. Left to its own devices, our local earth will almost always sprout a forest. Note to future meadow growers: Beware of woody upstarts.
Ready to debunk some more myths about meadows? Please visit my article in The Day, "Trading the Lawn for a Meadow." If you have trouble with the link, please download the PDF below.