If you’re having a new house built, you’ll probably have the land around the house graded, tilled, and seeded for a lawn. Ask the excavator to sow field-grass seed where you want a meadow, instead of the usual seed for fine-textured grass. You may also want to design a grassy path or two, which you’ll mow just as you would a lawn. Winding paths let you take a walk to view the details–as delightful a part of a meadow as the larger picture. Wildflower experts generally agree on how to grow a meadow: Leave it untended. One writer calls her meadow “an experiment in neglect.” Of course, the “hands-off” approach requires patience, since a meadow won’t mature in a single season. The first year or two, you may despair at the sight of straggly grasses, creeping clumps of clover, and brown patches. Eventually, though, all kinds of flowers will spring up–daisies, asters, goldenrods, and buttercups, to name a few–perhaps as many as 30 species in one year. Within four or five years, your meadow will be fully established.
–“How to Grow a Meadow,” by Nancy Holmes, May 1979
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