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The Making of a Meadow - Part 11

9/25/2023 10:22 am



The Final Report






The 11.5-acre McFarlane Nature Park is the site of a meadow – planted in 2021.  Some of you have followed the journey as this project has developed and grown. Now it may be time to just let it grow.


The back pasture meadow is doing what was intended. The plants have started to naturalize and the meadow is growing a hugely diverse collection of insects to feed the birds and pollinate the neighborhood. Every wildflower is crawling with bees and wasps and little flies.  The meadow is moving with activity. There is evidence that the deer bed down in the grasses at night, so perhaps it is offering more than what was intended. 


So far, the plants that have been dominant have included the two types of goldenrod - Solidago - S. odora and S. rugosa ‘Fireworks’. Heliopsis ‘Bleeding Hearts’, which I was told might not be hardy, flowered in its second summer, after our surprise frost in March, and provides some color interest when everything else is brown and yellow. This second season flowering is what we experienced in our own garden as well. 


There is a reason that Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ is popular.  It is reliable, and in this use, it is appreciated for expanding its domain. 


For height, we have seven big stands of Vernonia which were supposed to be ‘Summer’s Surrender’ - a variety destined to be 4 ft tall and possible 7 ft wide. These plants are about 7 ft tall and have already formed clumps at least 3 ft across. Not yet flowering at the end of September but covered in buds. 


I am anxious to see if the nascent Baptisias, discovered as small seedlings in Spring, will have matured a little and may be better established next year. Probably too much to hope for flowers until maybe 2025. I am content that some of the seeds thrown in Mother Nature’s way, have chosen to germinate. 


This is my last report on the Meadow, unless something dramatic happens. The meadow still has surprises in store. I appreciate those of you who decided to follow this journey.

Go to McFarlane Nature Park to visit the gardens and meadow. It is our 30th anniversary year at the Park.  280 Farm Road SE, Marietta, near Johnson Ferry and Paper Mill Roads.


-- Karin Guzy


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McFarlane Park Website