The Art of the Meadow: Our Official Blog RSS



A Banner Year for Gumweed

With a thermos of coffee and a truckload of buckets, we woke up bleary eyed and much too early this morning, heading out to the gumweed field for our annual harvest, only to discover... it's still in full bloom.  While the more water stressed plants along the road are starting to set seed, our plot is still going strong, humming with the last of the season's bumble bees (mostly Bombus bifarius), and a few big leafcutter bees of various species that we always see hanging out with gumweed along the coast. (Someday we'll do an entire blog post on gumweed pollinators).  For whatever reason, 2019 has turned out to be a sort of epic year for humble and handsome Puget gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia). It's looked great...

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Wildflowers on the Roof

We recently worked with our good friend and landscape architect Britton Shepard (https://www.seattlelandscaping.com) to develop a custom greenroof seed mix for a project near Seattle. Relying on only native species, this project was interesting contrast to the typical and more common sedum-type green roofs. Britton was able to engineer a deep planting bed of almost 6-inches and made a great planting medium that included biochar. For plant selection, we focused on some fast-growing annuals such as Douglas meadowfoam and globe gilia, some tough lupines, and some beach dune adapted species such as sea thrift, big head sedge, and beach pea. We also added Roemer’s fescue, prairie june grass, and healthy mash-up of other grasses and wildflowers. Time will tell which...

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Life in the Meadow

We're lucky to have a bunch of beautiful and interesting residents that share the farm with us throughout the seasons. a bumper crop of Sitka bumble bees, checkered skipper butterflies, California quail, coyotes, an abundance of snakes, and lots of other companions.  Among the more notable residents that appear every year in spring are some breeding vesper sparrows, an uncommon grassland bird species. This year was the first year we ever found an actual nest, located in a recently plowed field. The parents built it in the short window of time after plowing and before a summer cover crop was planted. With the nest location noted, we can give them lots of space until the young ones are ready to fly,...

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Native Seed is the Lowest Cost Conservation Investment You Can Make

“Your seed is expensive!” We get this observation periodically from customers and potential customers. And on a superficial level these comments – as stinging as they initially can be – are understandable. After all single packet of our springbank clover or camas contains a mere small handful of a few hundred seeds. For the same price customers can easily go online and buy a half-pound of bachelor button seed (or a hundred other non-native species). Indeed a thriving “wildflower seed” industry exists to supply garden centers, online stores, and big box retailers with low cost, non-native seed mixes. One can argue the merit of these mixes, but we would rather talk about what our seed represents to us: • We...

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