Queen Anne’s Lace, the wild carrot naturalized from our European days, spangles the sunny end of the meadow, up from the damper bottomland that nurtures Deer’s Tongue and Yellow Ironweed. Along with the native switch grass, their textures weave a matrix Piet Oudolf would be proud of.
The Ironweed is just beginning to bloom and always reminds me of the Sukevine of Cold Comfort Farm that enveloped its denizens in its lusty embrace. When it showed up years ago in the hollow, I thought it was an invasive and to my shame killed a native Joe Pye while trying to eradicate it. A lesson in ignorance I will never forget. The Joe Pye never came back, but the Ironweed marches on.
The meadow develops as the environment changes, from “natural” causes as well as the hand of man. Sometimes I think man’s hand is a blight everywhere. Even so, the meadow is a lovely thing to live with. It does not stay the same.
John has mowed a good strolling path (6-8′ wide) that takes us under the canopy of the wild cherry (Prunus sp.), past the dolphin bench, on towards the Sassafrass grove, along the creek which runs so softly now during the drought that has suddenly set upon us. It’s a mere trickle now and bound to get worse as
a heat dome is forecast for next week with the ground already dry as a bone. Thankfully, the spring up the little hollow across the creek to the north that we depend on for our household water continues to fill the cistern to overflowing.
Across the land as rivers run dry, forests burn and lakes and ponds fill with algae and bacteria, we are grateful for our water and the little paradise we live in. Sometimes I feel that we’re living in an enchanted garden with the world going to hell around us.
The zinnias are stalwart in the heat, feeding swallowtails, fritillaries, hummingbirds, bumblebees, dragonflies and goldfinches. I’ve overcome my initial disdain for the bedding cultivar ‘Magellen’ which I got stuck with this spring instead of the old cutting varieties ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘State Fair’ I was looking for. ‘Magellan’ does not have the grace or subtle colors (do not mix the pinks and oranges!) of the older varieties and has short stubby stems, but
when I see the giant landing pads the they offer the pollinators, I bow to the obvious.
Happily, a bit of ‘State Fair’ did show up in a bare spot I seeded earlier in summer with seed collected from last year, bringing a splash of Barbie pink to the grasses at the edge of the meadow. Will continue to collect and sow.