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The Making of McFarlane Meadow - Part 3

3/30/2022 8:33 am

The Making of McFarlane Meadow - Part 3



My Favorite Part – Plant Shopping



The 11.5-acre McFarlane Nature Park had a section of pasture that no one really used. The seed of an idea began - to establish a meadow – not a garden. A messy area filled with native plants where we could grow ourselves some insects. Hopefully, an increased population of insects would also bring us more birds.


Having researched methods of starting a meadow and deciding to ignore the conventional wisdom, I moved ahead to deciding what plants we could incorporate into our nascent meadow.  There are several sources of landscape plugs for native plants, and I chose to use North Creek Nurseries with whom I had become acquainted through volunteer work at the Atlanta History Center. 


Because McFarlane Nature Park is located in the middle of a residential area, I thought the neighbors would be happier with an assortment of plants that didn’t look too messy. I targeted about 35% grasses and 65% flowering perennials. With the Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States, prepared by Alan S. Weakley, University of North Carolina Herbarium, at my side, I prepared my list of candidates, avoiding plants that are known deer magnets. 

The final list included:

  • Andropogon gerardii ‘Blackhawks’
  • Sorghastrum nutans
  • Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’
  • Heliopsis helianthoides var scabra ‘Bleeding Hearts’
  • Solidago odora
  • Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’
  • Vernonia ‘Summer’s Surrender’

Having shared the plan with the taskforce committee for McFarlane, and receiving no response, I went ahead with ordering the plants in September 2021. Because of the high likelihood of failure, I decided to fund it myself. 


Seeds were also collected to use in the project: baptisia, liatris, stokesia, rudbeckia and clover.


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


NEXT: The Planting Plan