that would choke out weeds. But first the lawn had to go to give the
wildflower seeds an opportunity to germinate without competition. It
was sprayed with herbicides twice before the meadow mix was planted.
Some slower-germinating plants such as bluestem were installed as
plugs to give them a head start. Larger nursery-size native grasses and
similar accents were also planted. No fertilizers were applied, as food
would just encourage weeds. Even so, a certain amount of weed removal
was essential to prevent ultra-aggressive varieties such as Canada thistle from becoming garden thugs and choking out the meadow flowers.
Then it was a waiting game while the meadow took hold.
“The first year, it looked pretty bad,” Montgomery says. “But the
second year, it was OK. And by the third year, it was great.”
Designed to be impressive in every season, the meadow presents
an ever-changing palette. “There is no constant,” says Montgomery.
“It’s always evolving into a better product. And it’s thrilling to watch
year to year and season to season.”
Initially, Weaner installed plants that would hold the space while
deeper-rooted grasses such as the little bluestem became established.
Over time, coreopsis and other quickly maturing plants were muscled
out by slow-but-steady varieties such as mountain mint, milkweed,
and butterfly weed. It’s all part of the plan. “It has settled down into a
stable condition,” Weaner says. “New species continue to sprout, but
at a much slower rate.”
The meadow also serves to keep noisy, messy Canada geese, which
don’t like to walk through tall vegetation like the swamp milkweed, bee
balm, and obedient plant at water’s edge, away from what lawn is left
immediately around the house.
Maintenance, though, is required — approximately 100 hours’
worth each year, Montgomery figures, which is less than a formal gar-
den but more than a lawn. However, the perks are much more impres-
sive. In addition to the visual pleasure the meadow gives, “butterflies
and hummingbirds are everywhere,” Montgomery says of the viceroys,
skippers, and crescents he sees regularly.
Initially, Glazer and Montgomery saw the project as experimen-
tal. But now that they have achieved this satisfying accord with nature,
there is no going back.
a covered catwalk that joins the garage with the brick house frames a view to
the lake. Landscape architect Jamie Purinton softened the lines of the
structure with a set of hanging begonias and then strung a series of guy wires
to coax climbing clematis to form a green wall.
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