A few tips for creating a hillside meadow

Do you mow a hillside over and over, with little to show for your efforts? If so, consider transforming the area into a care-free wildflower meadow. Here's how to do it:

A few tips for creating a hillside meadow

A few reasons to make a hillside meadow

  • A single annual mowing is usually sufficient to maintain such a meadow, rather than mowing it every several weeks.
  • Meadow plants growing on a slope present an impressive picture that changes constantly as different species come in and out of bloom.
  • Meadow gardens are always packed with intrigue. The show is a never-ending display of different plant combinations, usually pairing flowering plants with clump-forming grasses.
  • The display is even more gratifying because very little site preparation goes into creating a meadow. When you seek out plants that thrive naturally in your climate and soil, the job is easy.
  • After planting them once, many wildflowers multiply or reseed with no assistance on your part.
  • You can use your saved time and energy to experiment with other flowers to add to the palette, fine-tuning your collection with each passing season.

Creating yard-sized meadows

They're somewhat wild and woolly by nature, so wildflower meadows are best located a short distance from your house, separated from it by a swath of neatly mown turf.

  • It serves as an open area, allowing you to stand back and admire the view.
  • It also acts as a buffer zone for wildlife, which is naturally drawn to wildflower meadows.
  • A short fence also helps to set apart a wildflower area. Fences lend a sense of importance, too, making the meadow look like an intentional garden rather than a happy accident.
  • Start small with a wildflower meadow and expand as you need room for a growing collection of plants.
  • Many of the flowers listed here have such strong constitutions that they seldom fail when given an opportunity to grow.

Plants perfect for a meadow

Here's a brief list of plants that are sure to succeed in your meadow:

  • Artemisia
  • Aster
  • Bee balm
  • Blue star
  • Borage
  • Bugleweed
  • Candytuft
  • Catmint
  • Columbine
  • Coreopsis
  • Creeping phlox
  • Crocus
  • Caffodil
  • Daylily
  • Dianthus
  • Epimedium
  • Four-o'clock
  • Foxglove
  • Hardy geranium
  • Goatsbeard
  • Goldenrod
  • Grape hyacinth
  • Joe Pye weed
  • Larkspur
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Purple coneflower
  • Rose campion
  • Rudbeckia
  • Shrub rose
  • Sneezeweed
  • Snowdrops
  • Species tulips
  • Spiderwort
  • Squill
  • Sweet woodruff
  • Turtlehead
  • Yarrow

Mowing your meadow

In the interest of neatness, and to control tree seedlings and other woody weeds that inevitably pop up, a meadow should be mowed at least once a year, preferably in late fall.

  • This job may be too rough for a mower, but it is easily tackled by a gas-powered weed trimmer equipped with a blade.
  • Allow the debris to lie on the ground through winter as a mulch.
  • Seeds may germinate under its protection, and it will prevent soil erosion.
  • In early spring, rake open patches, loosen the top centimetre (half-inch) of soil with a hoe and, if desired, plant seeds of annuals like poppies, cosmos and larkspur.

While creating a meadow might seem like a lot of work, it is sure to save you time and energy throughout the year -- not to mention it looks beautiful! If you want to brighten up your yard and save time on mowing, a hillside meadow is the perfect addition to your property.

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