Someone stole my meadow. Every morning I walk in different parts of my City. Observing the various personalities of the yards at the break of dawn is refreshing. I can tell what type of gardener dwells in the all green no color property. The colorful garden with a touch of green says a somewhat creative spirit lives within. Every so often there might be a square shrub and sometimes an inverted triangle shrub as well. Gardening is personal, so I cannot judge. This morning my walk left me totally aghast…I realized something strange.
Someone had stolen my meadow.
When walking last week, I immersed my thoughts in the growing meadow along Kipling Parkway. Pleasant thoughts of how any gardener nearby would appreciate the pollinators this meadow would attract. The vegetables would produce more vegetables and the flowers would bloom prolifically. Most importantly, the community would see more pollinators.
Someone stole the meadow…
To some, it might have looked like weeds in the slopes along the bank that runs through the City. I know there are Seniors and gardeners who might have been looking forward to the potential blooms. The Asclepias Incarnata was about to bloom. Commonly known as Swamp Milkweed, one might have considered this an area in disarray. Unknowing and perhaps assuming this slope needed mowing. Not understanding the intention of planting can be detrimental. Sometimes we need to look beyond the visible to see the beauty that surrounds us. This morning I realized the meadow was missing at first glance. Someone simply seized the opportunity to just “get the job done”. Most likely without any afterthought or shame.
I must sadly report that it is not just the meadow. Two gorgeous Cercis canadensis, commonly known as Redbuds, have been cut down. Post bloom and in a state of perfect form – gone. Aimlessly tossed aside in a heap, the vision was like a pile of unwanted debris for all to see. A few years ago, these trees were planted by the City Grounds Crew. It was the beginning of a Beautification effort for our City. Someone stole a beautiful memory of better days.
A BEAUTIFUL LESSON GONE
Everyone is not like me. I get this. Nature, creating spaces that provide beauty, teaching people how to connect with beauty is what I do. Dog walkers, joggers, and seniors walking along, also paused to enjoy this view. I looked at the strip meadow as an opportunity for my neighbors to see the beauty in the midst of the madness.
This planting was not just tall grass. It was a haven for the butterfly’s bringing life and energy to this well-traveled space. What a teachable opportunity missed for parents homeschooling their children during this period of unintentional pausing. A walkable habitat in the center of the City would have been a delight for all to see. It was more like a pollinator highway in the middle of my community. Opportunities for naturalistic plantings like this are not common in the African American community. It felt good knowing that we were contributing to the pollinating community. Giving back never felt so good. Those who are connected to the earth will understand how disappointing this is. My morning walk along the “meadow gone” will just not be the same.
TO MOW OR NOT TO MOW
In another area of the City, there is another meadow with similar topography. There are signs clearly stating instructions…
Protecting riparian buffers to keep our waterways clean is important. Part of the maintenance is mowing and even not mowing specific areas.
Meadows are a beautiful thing. One could consider a meadow a mixed media style of planting. Mowing once or sometimes twice a year proves meadows can be cost-effective. The additional added value is the beauty in the diversity of plant material and more. In the book Mini Meadows, Mike Lizotte offers recommendations for all types of meadow plantings. From erosion control, hell strips, drought tolerance, and more. There are even plant suggestions beyond Echinacea – Coreopsis, Poppies, Bee Balm, just to name a few. Deer resistant? Yes, there is a meadow for that. Including plants like black-eyed Susans, Yarrow, Sage, or assorted native perennials. American Meadows offers custom blends for whatever is needed to bring back the beauty in yards and communities alike.
ROI = RETURN OF INVESTMENT
When we pay our taxes, we anticipate our governing entities to action our behalf. Hiring qualified people is part of that equation. The ROI of taking care of the community is missing. With the negative energy surrounding us, we really need to have visions of beauty. Training City, as well as County employees to consider the environment, ask questions, and create a conversation about best practices is essential.
Educating the staff is necessary to stay current in any industry. Attending classes would add value and a sense of ownership of the job as well. The education of sound practices in an environmental setting would enable the employees to perhaps make a career out of horticulture. The Mid-Atlantic Short Course is a terrific way to enhance the skillset of the Grounds Team. I have attended this and found it invaluable for my team. It offers Team Leader, as well as training for the crew. There is even an opportunity for certification to advance one’s career. Attending training such as this would give the residents a true ROI.
Just having my say as I have had to make peace with the thought of someone stealing my meadow. Perhaps I should consider making seed balls…for my own meadow.
In memory of the meadow,
Teri, Cottage In The Courtby