A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What is a Meadow?

I love the word meadow and all that the word involves. I love the simple flowers, and grasses I love the wildlife...I am a birder for life.Beginning with the early morning sun and ending with dusk a nest of rabbits, a foamy spittlebug, a leaping grasshopper, bright milkweed, a quick fox, and a cruising hawk are found in a meadow. A meadow is an open community of grasses and wildflowers with very few trees. This rich habitat supports a wide variety of animal life.
Most meadow wildflowers are nectar sources and attract a variety of butterflies such as swallowtails, admirals,and monarchs. Nectar plants also attract many other insects like bees and moths. Meadows provide feeding and nesting sites for songbirds like bobolinks and meadowlarks. They may also provide shelter for frogs and small mammals, which in turn attracts hawks, owls and snakes.
If left undisturbed, the meadow would re-naturalize along a normal pattern. The annual vegetation would become mixed perennial and annual herbaceous plants and eventually these would bring about a colony of woody tree and shrub species. The meadow area is routinely cleared of tall growing woody vegetation and will never be allowed to become woodland. A meadow is an area dominated by herbaceous rather than woody vegetation. Meadows contain mostly grasses and flowers. In this part of the country, meadows occur naturally where it is too wet, too steep, or too rocky for trees and shrubs to grow. The Native Americans burned large areas to maintain meadows. The meadows offered hunting and gathering opportunities not found in the woods. Even today man creates meadow, especially along road-sides, under power lines, and along other utility rights of way. If it were not for annual mowing of these areas, eventually trees would grow here and shade the meadows out. Have you ever driven down the road and your husband says....why don't they cut these weeds down? When you are looking at those same weeds with a different eye. Beauty in the weeds.
Meadows have many advantages over lawn. I have known people who plant their yards like a meadow. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. You have to be patient and put up with a disorderly yard for a couple of years. They only need to be mowed once per year. This saves time and resources and reduces the pollution and greenhouse gases emitted by lawn equipment. Second, native meadows contain plants that support desirable wildlife, like goldfinches, hummingbirds, sparrows, and butterflies. Meadows are far more interesting to watch than lawns. Third, native meadows have fantastic seasonal interest. Come back every six weeks, and you will never see the same meadow twice. It’s always a new combination of plants and animals. Flowers and their pollinators fill the meadow from spring to late summer, then the ripe seed heads of grasses and flowers—which are beautiful in the fall and winter—provide food for wildlife.Have you ever been in a meadow completely alone? The sounds are wonderful too. Insects buzzing, bees droning, birds singing. Some of this information came from the internet but most from my own observations. Deep inside...I am not a tidy gardener. That is why the wooded area in the back of our property interests me so. I sprinkle seeds there and wait for winter to be over, to see what is growing. It too changes from year to year. Different seeds....different flowers. Different plants....different birds and critters visit.Areas like this do change about every 6 weeks. I might think, "Oh, I wish it would just stay like this, but then time passes and there is something else to see." Change is good...even in our natural world.


Anonymous said...

Depending on the area you live this would be a great alternative to a sea of grass. Plus less maintenance in the long run. Gorgeous photos today. :)

Balisha said...

A friend of mine tried this in her front yard. The neighbors weren't too happy about it, so she finally gave it up. There's something about our small town neighborhoods...people are used to lawns of grass and anything else is problematic.

Anonymous said...

When I was a teenager, I used to lie on my back in a wildflower meadow and just watch the clouds pass by. I remember many a warm afternoon when the buzz of bees and balmy breezes would lull me into a brief nap. :) Meadows are wonderful!

Elenka said...

I used to have a meadow surrounding my house....until my husband bought a riding mower.
Now when I hear branches or rocks hitting the blades of the mower, I know our yard is getting bigger and the meadow is getting smaller.
With 9 acres, this could go on for years! Good thing for the trees that have popped up in the meadow in the last 30 years! He can only go so far!

Balisha said...

Hi Racquel...thanks for the comments on the pictures too.

Nancy...Your memories are ones that I have daydreamed about...but never done.

Elenka...Oh those men and their riding mowers!!