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The Making of McFarlane Meadow - Part 8

6/10/2022 12:16 pm

The Making of McFarlane Meadow - Part 8


Expectations of Summer


The 11.5-acre McFarlane Nature Park is the site of a meadow – planted in October 9, 2021.

About 350 plants were installed and it has been an anxious wait.  A recent visit by members of the garden club that originally assisted in the planting clearly resulted in disappointment. The expectation was for a field of flowers. One visitor commented that “you can’t see the meadow because of all these grasses.” 


This is strangely akin to “can’t see the forest for the trees.” 



“The meaning of MEADOW is land that is covered or mostly covered with grass.”


It is not a “meadow in a can” or a median strip of flowering non-native Cosmos. 


The flowers will rise – mainly in the late summer and fall.  Already three types of goldenrod, Solidago, have begun to show their yellow blooms, favorites of the bees.  Beneath the grasses can be seen the distinctive foliage of Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida, which will likely bloom in August along with the swamp sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius.  Distinctive clusters of leaves that indicate emerging Heliopsis helianthoides, False Sunflower, promise to deliver the burnt orange flowers of the variety ‘Bleeding Heart’.


Although probably viewed as weeds in our home gardens, the rosettes of burgundy foliage that indicate Lyre-Leaved sage also provide stalks of purple flowers. These are also evident in the surrounding pasture and are guaranteed to spread in the meadow.


Due to supply chain delays, plugs of Asclepias tuberosa, the orange butterfly weed, will be added in June.  These will not delight visitors with flowers until next spring but will perhaps be large enough to be beneficial to Monarch butterflies who only care about the foliage.


In the meantime, visitors who expect flowers can be content with the probably non-native Allium, a wild garlic, that has sprouted and thrown up stalks of lovely small purple globes. 

I will continue to document the growth of the meadow as it evolves along with the desires of nature.  


NEXT: Are there flowers?