Being the compulsive plant shopper that I am, I'm so thrilled with the way the meadow garden has turned out this year. I started this project back in 2011, and they say it takes three year before a meadow really takes off. What's odd though is they say that about meadows started by seed because nothing really flowers until year two or three and then some don't flower until year seven or beyond. Meadows otherwise look like a bunch of weeds their first, and sometimes second year.
To it's benefit though, it does fill in, my meadow is lacking grasses, and it basically marks where I haven't planted things yet.
So here's a short list of what's blooming now.
Ceanothus americanus, which is actually a low 3' tall shrub that's covered in little white puffs of flowers. This is the only plant I need to remember not to mow over with the lawn mower each year and it's bright yellow stems really make it stand out. It's often praised as a good hummingbird plant, not because of the flowers, but because of the swarms of tiny bugs that go for the flowers. It's taken three years but sure enough I'm starting to see in the late afternoon this plant is bustling with tiny gnat-like insects. I haven't seen hummingbirds going for them yet but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. During the hotter times of the day nonsocial wasps tend to pollinate it. These types of wasps are beneficial because they're often specialized predators or parasites of beetle grubs, spiders, and caterpillars.
Echinacea pallida, to give that species a try. Well what arrived grew better than anything had before, and when I saw the flower buds I was thrilled... but then the petals were yellow! So so one of the nurseries I ordered Pale Purple Coneflowers had mix up and they'd sent me Ozark Coneflower instead.
I'm not complaining. These plants seem to be a lot healthier than the first batch of Ozark Coneflowers I tried years ago. I initially wanted that species because the yellow went so well with the orange Butterfly Weed. We'll see if these are better able to establish.