Ever hear of meadow-in-a-can? It's a clever marketing idea but so misleading to the serious 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.
These grasses are not the stuff of lawns, either, but a mixture of cool-season and warm-season bunching grasses.
Another misconception is that meadows will flower in the first year. It often takes several years for the planting to mature.
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."