July 7, 2012

The Light in the Meadow

I have a love hate relationship with the area behind our property.  At times I think it is a weedy mess, full of deer ticks, and unattractive.  We don't own the land there.  It is unmanaged, unmowed, overrun by invasive plants and home to diseased rodents.  It is not a meadow or a field, it is just open junk space.

Then, at times, it dazzles.

Right now the timothy grass shines in the late day sun, black eyed susans nod in a breeze, and milkweed is blooming pink and bold in upright towers.  Lacy white feverfew sweeps about the whole scene.

At these times I call it a meadow.  I even call it "my" meadow, although I don't plant it or own it or claim anything other than the pure enjoyment of watching it quiver with butterflies on a sunny afternoon.

The noise and rustle of the meadow is soothing, offset by the cacophony of bird calls out there.  Hawks patrol from overhead and when they do, the crows let everyone know.  Yellow finches wait patiently for the big spiky thistles to bloom and ripen.

The homeowner's association we belong to owns the land in common, but no one in the neighborhood can even see it.  It is viewable only from our back yard.  The association does not do anything to maintain it.  On his own, Jim mows some paths through the dense foliage all summer, and we can walk out there.


Sometimes I don't even see the wildlife or the plants, I only notice the light in the meadow, and how it is so changeable. 




On hot nights in early July, the whole area flashes and twinkles with fireflies.

I really wish you could see that.





Some views of the meadow over time:







30 comments:

  1. These open spaces are so valuable; to us, the wildlife out there and the many plants that grow there. When shopping malls, movie theaters and fast food encroach on every possible space the greenbelt areas give me room to take a deep breath and hope that not every square inch will be developed. Ours is a love/hate relationship too though...poisonous snakes, too many rabbits and other creepy crawlies. But the flowers, oh when they are blooming, like you I just love it!

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    1. Cat, the green common areas did attract us to this area when we moved here 8 years ago. In another part of our development there is a pond with an island in it, and lots of other meadows and fields that were left undisturbed. Sometimes ugly, but often very beautiful.

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  2. I have similar feelings about the bushland that surrounds us here. When it's brown and dry and looking rather ugly, it's almost an eyesore. Then when the wet season comes and everything springs to life and raindrops glisten on the leaves, it's almost as pretty as a picture. Then when the gum trees bloom, it's just beautiful. Deep down, I don't think either of us would really like it any other way. Your sometimes-a-meadow is looking positively beautiful right now.

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    1. Bernie, I have long been fascinated by your surrounding bushland. I wold love to see the gum trees blooming, I know that can be beautiful. I like what you call the wild space around me --- a "sometimes-a-meadow", it's the perfect description!

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  3. I think I would prefer this to neigbors in the meadow space. It looks quite beautiful through your camera lens.

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    1. Lisa, I absolutely agree. Our house is one of the few in the development where there is no one on the left of us, no one on the right, and a meadow on multiple sides. Much preferred to having neighbors right next door.

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  4. This is really a wonderful place. Is it safe of any harmful insect there? Whatever I like this place.

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    1. Two Steps, thanks. There are insects out in the meadow. We have a very harmful one, the deer tick, which causes Lyme disease (I had the disease from a tick bite in 2008 and it was severe ... pain, fever, facial paralysis, very bad). But I got cured. The meadow is still a beautiful place at times, but the insects and other harmful things can be a problem.

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    1. Scott, thanks so much. I wish I could take credit for it!

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  6. How lovely! We have a similar space (yours is much prettier) between the edge of our yard and the golf course where the groundskeepers let the rough grow unchecked, it has kind of a British Open feel to it. We love it, our neighbor hates it, so he keeps it mowed in front of his house, even though he's mowing their property. My favorite part is watching the insects (esp. dragonflies) flit about in our faux prairie at sunset.

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    1. Julie, in our whole development there are two approaches, just like in your neighborhood. Some owners make the association mow the open space down flat, like a lawn. Others like it to grow unchecked as the area behind our house is. People have strong views about which approach is preferred.

      Isn't it fun to watch the flying wildlife out in the faux prairie? I love that term!

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  7. Hey, Laurrie, I'd take your meadow any day. It's not only natural; it's beautiful too. By comparison, my uncultivated field (read that, overgrown) seems ready to attack all who venture near it. Best thing I can say about it is it's wild. Someday, maybe it'll pretty up on its own. I'm waiting.

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    1. Lee, you are in more of a woodland setting, so your open field may not develop the prairie look of asters and daisies and all the pretty stuff that came with disturbed land when the builder scraped out our open space and then left it. Our meadow can be a little frightening to those who venture out --- yesterday the bobcat sauntered through the mown paths, looking for dinner. Awesome sight.

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  8. I quite like your meadow. Have you thought about trying to manage it to encourage things you like and discourage other less desirable characters?

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    1. James, Thanks. I do make a stab at digging out the multiflora rose, autumn olive, and barberry plants that would overtake the meadow otherwise, but I'll never get them all. And I have planted native spicebush, sassafras and some witch hazels around the edges, nearer the trees. But I leave the main open area to its own devices, with just a little editing to keep out the worst offenders. I could do a lot more management of the area, though, and it would improve.

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  9. oh I wish I could see that too! I have seen a firefly just once in my life and it was magical. to imagine a whole field full of them. I understand the love/hate connection with this untamed space. Sometimes I see our back field and think - good grief that's a mess, how awful. But other times I see the birds flitting about, the grasshoppers jumping and all is okay again.

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    1. Marguerite, that's the thing about our wild spaces contrasted with our gardened areas --- they look awful and unkempt, until you take a good look and see the wildlife and vibrancy and then sometimes even the beauty of what grows naturally.

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  10. I think it's really beautiful. It has effortlessly created what I try so hard to replicate in my garden - a space that flows and is beautiful. The rudbeckia are so perfectly placed. :o) I love fireflies and see them here sometimes. Is your A/C fixed? I couldn't have survived our heat (105 today) without air conditioning.

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    1. Tammy, thanks. It does have a natural, effortless look with just the right clumps of color scattered just so! We could never replicate it so perfectly : )

      A/C is not fixed, and won't be til next week, but we are making do with fans, and the temps are not like your furnace heat conditions, so we are not dying. The garden is dry, no rain at all for two weeks, but the daytime heat is actually tolerable in the 80s - 90s, as long as I am not spreading mulch or running uphill. 105 is just too hot.

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  11. As much as open spaces like that might harbor diseased rodents, and tics, there is way much more to be said in their favor than against them. They have a natural balance and harmony too them. I would love to have that too look at!

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    1. Ruth, you are right. Balance and harmony are what we strive for in our gardens, but it all just happens out there in the meadow!

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  12. You'll never control it but you seem to have found the perfect balance. The mowed paths are a great idea.

    I have some open space bordering my yard that is filled with the usual nasty invasive suspects. At one point I drew a line in the sand, so to speak and decided to create a garden strip. This garden runs along my driveway and is backed by a border of Thuja 'Green Giant'. I call it the Reclamation area. Maintaining it has not been easy. Some years I get it looking decent (last year) and some years I don't (this year), but if I did nothing it would be an eyesore.

    Sometimes you have to spend time looking for beauty but the time spent usually pays off.

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    1. Sue, I really had to look for beauty in the weeds surrounding us, but I agree that it pays off. I want to see your Reclamation Strip.

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  13. I think mowing paths through your meadows is just the right touch. I am sure all the wildlife there appreciates its wildness. By the way, I love where you put the pot in the meadow. Perfect!

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    1. Deborah, all the wildlife appreciates the tall weeds, but they also appreciate the mown paths. That's how the rabbits get around now, and the deer use the paths to move through the area. A few days ago the bobcat was patrolling the edge of the tall grasses by walking down the paths.

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  14. My view of untamed places like this has changed over time; I used to think of them as weedy messes that someone really should mow down, but now I see the beauty in all the wildflowers. There is a stretch of road along an abandoned railroad track that I travel frequently which has the same wild look, and I love it. Right now it's full of Queen Anne's Lace and chicory in bloom. I always hate it when the highway department decides to mow it all back later in the summer. Your meadow looks lovely with all these wildflowers, and your photos capture it beautifully. I'm sure the wildlife appreciate it, and it must be full of bees and butterflies. I bet it's gorgeous at night all lit up by fireflies!

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    1. Rose, thanks. How I wish I could get photos of the light show out there at night when the lightning bugs are flashing!

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  15. The open space certainly looks beautiful now. Wild places are like that; chaotic and unattractive sometimes and glorious at other times. They require patience.

    I can imagine the fireflies; here they fill the lower boughs of the pine trees.

    Beautifully written post btw. :)

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    1. Sweetbay, thanks so much. The meadow has certainly required patience of me. But it does offer rewards!

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