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The Making of McFarlane Meadow - Part 7

4/26/2022 3:53 pm

The Making of McFarlane Meadow - Part 7

Signs of Growth

The 11.5-acre McFarlane Nature Park, is the site of a planted meadow – an area filled with native plants where we can grow ourselves some insects.  The space of about 10’ x 40’ was planted with the help of garden club members, neighbors, and local Boy Scouts on October 9, 2021.


Since the original meadow planting, when about 350 plants were installed, it has been an anxious wait.  As regular park walkers stared at the overgrown patch, surrounded by pink ribbon on stakes, they saw nothing but pasture weeds. I saw nothing but pasture weeds. What top growth there had been on the original landscape plugs had disappeared over the winter months. We could only hope that the healthy roots were there, waiting to emerge. 


Now, in mid-April, there are signs of growth.  Clearly emerging are goldenrods, although the varieties have yet to distinguish themselves from one another.  We planted both Solidago odora and S. rugosa ‘Fireworks’.  I recently added one specimen of S. petiolaris, the Downy Goldenrod, reputed to support bees, wasps and 112 species of butterflies and moths.  

Grasses, both tall and short are evident, but I find that I am not good at identifying them.  They may, or may not, be the ones we planted. 


The lovely small grasses with green seedheads may be naturally occurring sedges.  In addition to Indian Grass and Bluestem, I added a few Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ divisions from my garden and a stray Muhlenbergia. Perhaps they will identify themselves as they mature. 


A single red poppy flower has appeared.  No idea where it came from, but it is lovely and welcome. Right now, the whole area is covered in yellow ranunculus, as are the rest of the pastures throughout the Park.  We will continue to watch and wait to see what nature allows in the meadow.


Stay with me and I will try to document the growth of this idea, not knowing if it ends in success or failure.  






NEXT: As Spring Moves to Summer