Meadows

8/11/2011

On a recent trip to Storm King Arts Center - a 500 acre sculpture garden, we viewed the extensive use of meadows as a canvas for large-scale art installations. The ecology of native meadows consists of using predominately grasses with perennial forbs (herbaceous plants). Meadows can be established by removing all unwanted vegetation, usually with a herbicide or hand cultivation. Once the area has been prepared, in many cases, the seeding can be done by hand with a selected mixture determined by existing site conditions. Some of the more commonly used native plants are Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) Senna (Senna marilandica) and Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia fulgida). Meadows generally take 2-3 years to become fully established. Once matured, they provide a habitat for wild life, and an opportunity to practice low maintenance techniques. This would mean no need for fertilization, and just mowing the meadow in early spring before growth resumes. In some states burning is permitted in early spring, which is the most ideal method in cleansing and invigorating the meadow. Meadows are dynamic, changing, ecologically sound, nurturing, and of great value when considering land use.