Well, try as we might, the garden gods were against us. A wet Spring, a ridiculously hot, dry Summer, a hurricane, an earthquake and September floods left us wondering what else Mother Nature would throw at us in 2011. Even though we had covered nearly the entire meadow with landscape fabric to hold the compost and seeds in place, we still ended up with quite a few bare spots. In addition, we were the victims of a yellow sedge invasion that was so thick it looked like we planted it. If you have driven by the library lately, you no doubt noticed the unrulely clumps of grasses and complete lack of wildflowers. Not the look we were going for!
All Summer, we watered when there was no rain – a 4-hour proposition each time, and made regular visits to see what progress our little seeds were making. We even changed the type of sprinklers we used as the grass grew taller to be sure every area was drenched. Larry Conrad from Mulch Solutions visited the site 7 times between planting and mid-September, as anxious as we were for the meadow to succeed. Unfortunately, it was not to be. There was high blood pressure all around.
In a heroic effort to get on top of the problem several Meadow Committee members hand pulled what seemed like acres of nutsedge. This got rid of the sedge, but didn’t solve the other problems. Determined to do everything possible to achieve the meadow of our dreams, we discussed several options: continuing to hand pull as much nut sedge as possible, whenever it appeared; over-seeding bare spots; waiting to see what grew next Spring; or nuking everything and starting over in the Spring. Believe me, at this point, some of us would have willingly tossed a hand grenade in there. We talked with various experts and got heartburn over the inconsistent and conflicting advice. Ultimately, we decided to go with Larry Conrad’s suggestion to cut everything down to about 5 inches, kill it and start over early next year. He plans to use a two-pronged attack to be sure the sedge is eliminated. To hold the soil in place after the present greenery is killed, Mulch Solutions will plant a cover crop that will also add nutrients to the soil. And, best of all, they have offered to do all of this at no charge! This was music to our ears, since we certainly didn’t have the funds to start over and no other response promises to be as effective.
We were so grateful for Mulch Solution’s generosity and so relieved to finally have a resolution to our predicament, we were practically dancing in the streets. Such is gardening. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
We also deeply appreciate the financial contributions of the many local organizations that supported our library meadow from the outset, and have been gratified by their patience and support throughout our trials and tribulations. We are optimistic that next year, with the help of Mulch Solutions, we will achieve the beginnings of a gorgeous wildflower and native grass meadow that we envisioned in front of the library. Stay tuned!