Green grows the meadow. And, yellow, red, orange, and purple for that matter.
Just add water.
I’m pleased to write that the meadow in the upper pasture is growing well now that we added water to the equation. We found the soil too dry to support the wildflowers. We run 30 minutes of irrigation five nights a week from two commercial sprinkler heads. Because the well must pump uphill, we get about an inch a week with this watering program. We move the sprinklers around the pasture for more even watering.
Once the meadow is fully established, I hope we no longer need to water this much. We shouldn’t as the ground gets better. It was full of terrible soil, but as the meadow grows and dies and is mown late in winter/early spring, I think the soil will get better.
Mow paths to see the meadow flowers better.
I walked up to the meadow and mowed a couple of paths around the space and within it. I forgot to take a photo of the two paths, but like how they look.
The flowers are ever changing.
What I’ve noticed throughout this season is an ever-changing variety of flowers. In spring, we had crimson clover and Achillea millefolium, common yarrow, with annual poppies. Now, the meadow is full of coreopsis, cosmos–the sulphur-yellow type and the traditional pink ones–both part of an annual seed mixture, several daisy-like flowers, and gaillardia. Some of these are from the seeds I planted last fall, and others have simply come up on their own.
Johnsongrass is an unwelcome visitor.
Unfortunately, johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense L, is another big grower in the meadow. Although this grass is ubiquitous to Oklahoma, it is not native. I’m trying to kill it, and I realize, in summer, we are in the middle of a standoff. I take my battery-operated DEWALT String Trimmer and chop the grass as far down as possible. Then, I spray the johnsongrass with glyphosate. I can hear you shudder. I normally don’t use glyphosate anywhere on my property unless I have a particular problem like poison ivy or johnsongrass. In garden beds, I’ve dug out johnsongrass roots by hand, but I can’t in this pasture. The ground is too hard, and the grass is too mighty.
The applications I made last week worked, and I have another spot I need to do this week. I’ve noticed within a couple of weeks, other seeds of flowers are sprouting and growing up through the dead grass. Note, I do not spray anything on a windy day, and I wear protective clothing. I also do the work in the morning on a hot day to avoid overheating.
I’m taking a social media break.
One more thing, I wanted all of you to know I’m taking a social media break for a while, until Labor Day, which falls on my birthday this year. Why? As coronavirus wore on through the summer, I felt like I was craving human contact. I work from home, and I don’t get out much. I am an introvert, but I need people as everyone does. I also realized how much time social media was taking away from my real life, including writing this blog. I didn’t notice these things until we were all stuck at home, and I craved real, personal interaction with my friends and family.
I also read Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport, and it kind of blew my mind. In connection with all of this, yesterday, I deactivated my Twitter account. I was never on there anyway, and it seemed silly to keep it. Then, my youngest daughter’s Twitter account was hacked by someone, and I watched her deactivate hers.
I thought, now is the time.
Once Labor Day comes, I’ll probably keep my Facebook and Instagram, but only get on them a couple of times a week. I’ve been making plans with friends in the meantime. You know, like having coffee, safely, of course. The best way to reach me for gardening questions will be through this blog, or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I found I couldn’t keep up with Instagram Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Direct Messages on Twitter, and my email. It was all just too much.
I’ll keep gardening. You keep gardening, and let’s chat on here instead. Many hugs to all of you!
New podcast episode
Carol Michel and I do have a new podcast episode on the Gardenangelists. This week we talked about Agastache, Peppers, and Monarch Waystations because I finally made my entire property a Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch. I’d already done the work. Might as well make it official.
We have been working hard for a number of years to convert our septic filed into a wildflower meadow. It is no easy task. The first thing we did was to mow and collect as grass is the worst enemy of wildflowers. They cannot compete. We did this for 3 years and also turned the sprinklers around so they do not spray in the area. The idea is to impoverish the soil to give the wildflowers a chance. Last year we had lots of blanket flowers but the deer just ate them continuously this year. We did have a lot more bluebonnets though. David has now mowed again and collected as all the plants were dried out. I love the way of mowing pathwasy through a meadow. They do that a lot in England. I know it is hard work but like you we will keep it up as lobg as we see it working.
Love hearing about your meadow.
Thank you Sharon. I miss seeing you in person.~~Dee
Hi Jenny, There is nothing about a meadow that makes it an easy task. I like the look of pathways too, but even more, I like being able to walk through the meadow without chiggers. I hate chiggers, and they proliferate in tall plants I think. Yes, grass is hard to deal with. It wants to smother the flowers. I think that is so rude. We will keep working on both of our meadows. I’d love to see yours.~~Dee
Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening
In Britain, when they mow a meadow, they rake and remove the cuttings because they want the soil to stay poor. But it sounds like you will leave the cuttings to help improve the soil. That sounds like what would happen in an actual prairie, so makes sense to me. I know the Brits keep the soil poor to weaken the grass and increase the wildflowers, but this doesn’t seem to be what would happen naturally. I’ve never understood their approach to meadow-making, but figure their climate and grasses are different.
Hi Kathy, I don’t think there’s anything that will make this soil richer. It is pitiful. I think you’re right about the Brits. Their soil and growing conditions are so different from the middle of the U.S., it’s like night and day–at least in the parts of GB I’ve been, East Anglia, London and surrounds and Yorkshire. I agree that the prairie just kind of falls in on itself in late winter/early spring, and that’s what I’m trying to create. Really, the prairie caught on fire a lot and burned things. Unless I burn it, some seeds won’t germinate. Not sure I want to do a prescribed burn, but maybe one day. Gardening is all about location, location, location, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by. I miss you.~~Dee
As one who never jumped on the social media bandwagon, I say congratulations, Dee! A good move to reclaim your life! Your meadow is simple and lovely, Johnson grass aside. Keep on blogging, please!
Hi Ginny, I’m still in the addicted phase, but I see light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for the encouragement! I so appreciate it. ~~Dee
Hold firm! I’m rooting for you!
Glad to see a post from you…I wasn’t sure you would be postng until after Labor Day. Your wildflower meadow is beautiful..we live at Lake Hefner and the greenbelt behind us is full of wildflowers although for some reason not as many blooms this year, they haven’t mowed this summer so I hope to see lots of blooms soon. Glad you registered as a Waystation you definitely have done the work! Your garden is an amazing butterly retreat! I haven’t seen any Monarchs in my garden since April. Stay cool in this heat..August is the hardest month for me to garden in…we are supposed to get rain tonight or tomorrow. Hope you get some ran too!
Hi Sonia, my blog automatically posts a link to Facebook, but you might also sign up for the newsletter if you haven’t already. I’m not seeing as many insects this year, which is weird I think. So many grasshoppers though! I’m having a hard time going outside and gardening too. I hate the heat more as I grow older. However, we’re both supposed to get rain and cooler temperatures this week. Let’s vow to garden a little. Thanks for always reading.~~Dee
I love seeing pictures of the mini meadow coming into its own. Maybe one of your kids will buy a drone and do an overhead video for us?
Hurray for the Monarch Waystation! We are moving to 16.3 acres from our 3/4 acre lot. Lots of wildflower meadows already growing. Will concentrate on the meadows and leave the intensive gardening to others.
Hi Sandra! I’m so excited for your move. It’s what you probably always wanted. I hope my meadow gets better and better in future years as I encourage even more diversity. Thank you for the impetus to get my Monarch Waystation. I appreciate so much all of your butterfly expertise.~~Dee
Maybe I’ll just buy a drone. Thanks for the idea!
They’re tricky to fly, but I bet Brennan has enough video game experience it will come naturally to him!