Meadow musings

You won’t hear the sound of a lawnmower very much in our garden—or anywhere at Vertical Screen's headquarters for that matter—because most of our nine-acre Warminster, Pa. site is covered in native ornamental grasses and dry/wet meadows.

Why anyone would want a totally unnatural green lawn that is loaded up with fertilizer and cut every week just amazes me. It can even be a bit unsettling to me when I see a huge commercial property with acres of green, manicured lawn. The thought of all the lawn mower pollution, wasted fuel, boatloads of inorganic fertilizer and nasty herbicides used to maintain these sites is mind boggling. You have to ask yourself, what are these perfect green lawns bringing to the environment exactly? The answer is … nothing really.

Meadows on the other hand only need a once-yearly routine cutback in the late winter or early spring. After that, you can just sit back and enjoy the lovely progression of the meadow through the seasons.

From early spring until late fall you will see an amazing flowering display from native plants: the soft violets of wild Bee-balm, vibrant golden yellows of Goldenrod, intense dark purples of Ironweed, shockingly bright oranges of Milkweed, large purple cones of Coneflower, subtle white sprays of Snakeroot and it all finishes off with an encore of purple Asters in the fall. Tucked in amongst these flowering perennials are beautiful, tall, stately native grasses that sway in the wind.

All of these diverse plants also bring an astonishing amount of wildlife into the landscape, from butterflies and bees, to beneficial insects and smaller animals/reptiles. On most days you will see several different species of birds, including birds of prey that use the meadows as hunting grounds, as well as pollinating insects that flock to the meadow flowers.

When you able to stroll through these meadows and see all of this in action, a green, manicured lawn just seems, well, boring.

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