Think a meadow isn’t a good match for your landscape? Think again. Meadows
are a good fit for all types of conditions; in fact, they can even solve several
common garden woes.
Tight Space: Meadow plantings can make small spaces seem roomy. Even the
narrow hell strip along the road can nurture a meadow.
Too Dry: Little bluestem and many other native grasses with deep roots are
custom-made for dry conditions.
Too Wet: Meadow plants such as swamp milkweed, bee balm, and obedient
plant love soggy soil.
design decision Meadow Matchup
While the view of the lake was lovely, Montgomery and
Glazer wanted to see more from the house and its generous bank of wraparound windows. They contacted Jamie
Purinton, whose firm, Jamie Purinton Landscape Architect, is also in Ancram, to come up with an eco-sensitive
design plan that would include vegetable beds around an
outdoor grilling area and vines to soften the look of the new
Purinton engulfed the structure in climbing hydrangea and euonymus, Virginia creeper, trumpet honeysuckle,
and purple clematis. A small apple orchard, also on the
owners’ wish list, was sited where the fruit trees are easily accessible for harvest. On the periphery of the property, a loose hedge of oaks, pines, and black tupelo provide
soft green privacy screening. Other than those directives,
Montgomery and Glazer were content with the usual plantings hugging the footprint of their house. The meadow
After living in the house for a year and partaking of
the stone barbecue/sitting area and the porch overlooking the lake, the couple decided to install a dining patio
within footsteps of the kitchen and with a view of the water.
Purinton designed it with brick set into bluestone, and
the patio soon became the go-to place for meals whenever
weather permitted. Next, a railing wall that obstructed the
view of the lake from the porch came down, a further sign
that Montgomery and Glazer were bonding with their land.
But the lawn on the sloping bank wasn’t sitting well
with them. Never utilized and merely serving as a place
holder around the patios, the lawn wasn’t earning its (sub-
stantial) keep. “Basically,” says Montgomery, “we were
bored with grass.” In 2008, they tried throwing out some
wildflower seed in a section of the yard as an experiment.
“We liked the results enough to wonder what would hap-
pen if we did it for real,” says Montgomery. Meanwhile,
Purinton, fresh from a lecture by Larry Weaner, a land-
scape designer known as the “meadowmeister” because of
his advocacy of the meadow concept, presented the idea to
her clients. After a few consultations with Weaner’s firm,
Larry Weaner Landscape Associates of Glenside, Penn-
sylvania, they were game to give it a try. “After all,” says
Montgomery, “we could always go back to lawn.”
Glazer wanted a custom meadow that was low and
uniform in height and would not obscure the proper-
ty’s stone walls. “A lot of thought was put into the archi-
tecture,” Weaner says, “and they wanted the areas of
the meadow to blend — which is a good thing.” Glazer
requested blossoms and swaths of color running through
Based on aesthetics as well as the diverse ecological conditions on the property, Weaner designed several
custom meadow mixes that included aggressive spreaders