Monday, July 2, 2012

Natural gardening, meadows and informal perennial borders

Natural gardening to me means mimicking nature, recreating the way that natural processes result in the plant communities and successional habitats that we see, encouraging plant combinations that work, look and feel like natural places.  It's what I like to see at home.

Meadow habitats are particularly challenging, since they're so successional, and maintained by disturbance, whether it's grazing, mowing, or fire.

But they're such wildlife-friendly habitats, and normally lovely in terms of plant combinations, flowering interest, etc. that I've wanted to keep incorporating them into our gardens.

But meadows aren't easy, since they're prone to proliferation of more aggressive species (think about species like common milkweed, Indian grass, river oats, and goldenrod, here in the SE US). They love to take advantage of richer garden soils and become thugs quite quickly, as many prairie and meadow species are inclined towards leaner soils.

the current view of the pocket meadow in the mountains

another view of a native parking lot planting at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville

So my inclination towards "pocket" meadows, more or less manageable informal patches made up of natives was kindled.

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