This might be the best summer ever for the library meadow. The grasses we have been adding over the course of several years are finally making their presence known. It should be an interesting fall, with all their tassles peaking above the dying flowers and their autumn colors livening up the brown, dried flower stems for many months into the winter. We were told that it takes three years for grasses to get established because they spend a long time putting down significant roots, and that has certainly proven to be the case here. Planting all those little plugs three years ago was a true exercise in optimism that has finally borne fruit!
We were also told that the seeds we planted six years ago would still be viable and would show up when conditions were right, even though they didn’t appear right away. That has proven true, too. There were flowers in the meadow this year that haven’t been evident in the past. Of course, we can’t be sure if that’s because the deer just have eaten them this year for some strange reason or because the seeds just didn’t germinate earlier. Maybe it was the wet spring? Or maybe they were seeds added by birds? Who knows. In any case, there is more diversity in the meadow this year, more color (beyond yellow) and way more grass.
Even a short visit on a sunny day provided visitors with the opportunity to see and hear dozens of bees and other pollinators enjoying the flowers. They were so preoccupied that you could practically stick your hands amongst them and they would ignore you. We have spotted a few Monarch butterflies in the mix as well, which is heartening.
Speaking of Monarchs, a local Boy Scout troop recently did us a huge favor while helping one of their members become an Eagle Scout. He was looking for a place to plant milkweed and establish a Monarch Way Station. We were looking for help removing some invasive weeds from the meadow and the meadow is conveniently already certified as a Way Station. It was a match made in heaven. Every place the Boy Scouts removed invasive weeds and a huge patch of what we have come to call “Monster Grass”, they planted milkweed. They also cleared a buffer around the ugly stormwater drain to keep the County happy while protecting as much of our grasses and flowers as possible. The newly-certified Eagle Scout has also taken on the responsibility of watering the newly planted milkweed to ensure their survival. This means next year we will have even more of the food necessary for Monarch survival. Yeah!
Here are a few photos of the meadow this summer.
A growing patch of Mountain Mint.
Someone enjoying the bee balm.
A large new area of grass on the slope near the sidewalk.
Grasses peaking above the native sunflowers.
Bee balm that made its way over from the perennial garden on the other side of the sidewalk, plus some of the “new” grass.
Grasses shouldering their way amongst the sunflowers.