Meadowscaping

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Douglas aster provides a long season of nectar for a wide variety of pollinators including butterflies, native bees and honey bees.

Meadows will soon be in bloom, providing rich habitat and beauty all season long. Did you know that much of the Willamette Valley was once open prairie? The native meadow habitat included annual and perennials flowers like the ones pictured here, plus many species of grasses. In some places white oak woodland merged with the prairie, creating savannah biomes. These rich and diverse environments held many species of pollinators, birds and other animals and were tended and harvested by indigenous people for thousands of years. These habitats are nearly extinct, but you can help them make a comeback by creating a meadow in your yard – be it small or large! 

Meadows are colorful, diverse, beautiful in every season – and a key way to help out pollinators. Since 40% of the urban area is residential properties, the habitat efforts we make in our yards add up to make a positive impact, especially when we work together to create habitat corridors.

Every 19 blocks, on average, parking strips (or ‘planting strips’, or is you’re from the Midwest, ‘boulevards’ or East Coast, ‘tree lawns’ – that space between the street and sidewalk) make up about an acre of underutilized space. That bit of land between the street and sidewalk can be quite productive – offering habitat, filtering runoff, helping sink rain water, sequestering carbon and providing beauty and a sense of regional place.  It’s a small way to #resist.

Resilience Design is pleased to offer locally native plants, seed and meadowscaping services in the Portland Metro area.

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Fare-well-to-spring (Clarkia)

What is a Meadow?
A meadow is a grassy landscape with a diverse mix of wildflowers. I think of it as being a mini-prairie, one that is tended somehow. The Meadowscaping Handbook says “A Meadow is a tract of land dominated by grass and other non-woody plants, either in its natural state or used for a purpose. Until recently, the term meadow was used to describe a grassy feature of the managed rural landscape such as a pasture or its urban relative, the lawn. In this guide we’ll use the descriptor urban meadow to describe managed groups of native prairie plants.”

What is Meadowscaping?
Meadowscaping is the practice of creating urban meadows with locally native plants with the intention of providing multiple benefits including pollinator and bird habitat, rainwater infiltration, sinking carbon and other ecological functions – and greening and beautifying our neighborhoods.

~~Meadow Goods and Services ~~

Meadow Seed
Willamette Valley native wildflower meadow seed. This mix grows 18-24″ tall and has species that bloom in spring, summer and fall for continuous nectar flow. 75% of the species are perennial (they come back every year), 25% are reseeding annual species, many of which will bloom the first year. $22/oz.  (1 oz covers 400 sq. ft.)

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Summer blooms in Mulysa’s parking strip meadow.

Also available, limited quantities of locally native seed by species including Great Northern aster, Douglas aster, Yarrow and Western milkweed.

Meadow plants 
Resilience Design’s urban micro nursery has a selection of native wildflowers for you meadow in 3.5″ pots including meadow foam, yarrow, self-heal, Western milkweed, Oregon sunshine, Douglas aster, California fescue, Roemer’s fescue, plus #1 pots of meadow shrubs including red-twig dogwood, willows and wild rose.

Meadowscaping Kits 
For your parking strip or a portion of your yard. Get all the information, seeds and plants to create your own meadow garden, or hire us to create your dream meadow in 1-3 days. The cost depends on the site of your site.

DIY – starts at $500 for a small parking strip. Includes an initial consultation, a design and instructions, locally native wildflower and grass seeds and plants and a follow up consultation.

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Bumblebee on Checkermallow (Sidalcea).

Full Service Installation – starts at $850 for a small parking strip. Includes all of the above plus materials and labor to prepare the site and install the meadow. Partnering with Apogee Landscapes.

Contact Mulysa to purchase plants and seeds or start the Meadow kit process.

Meadow Resources 

The Meadowscaping Handbook A guide to planning, installing and maintaining an urb an meadow.

Pollinator Parkways A project in East Portland to ‘Flip the Strip’ and create habitat corridors for “pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, flies, wasps and other amazing fauna like ladybugs, beetles, and worms can thrive.” Check out their how-to guide!

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Sweat bee on Madia (Tarweed).

The Portland Plant List is a user-friendly guide to the locally native flora of our Metro area, with plant community information, flowering season and more. It also includes a list of “nuisance” species. (And an appendix of plants that do not attract birds and allowed near the airport, where wildlife poses a serious hazard. So… if you do want to create habitat,  note that many ornamental plants provide little to no value to local wildlife.)

Backyard Habitat Certification Program A local certification program that offers a wealth of resources to home gardeners wanting to manage invasive weeds, plant natives, go pesticide free, manage stormwater and steward wildlife.

Photos and content by Mulysa Melco © 2017

This entry was posted in Ecological Restoration, Landscape Design, Native Plants, Permaculture, Pesticide Free, Pollinators, Seasons, Uncategorized, urban flora, Wildflowers. Bookmark the permalink.

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