The Art of the Meadow: Our Official Blog RSS



The Camas Lands

No Northwestern meadow plant is more iconic than Camassia quamash, common camas. A plant that despite its name, isn’t common, at least not anymore. But it could be again. Arriving over the Rocky Mountains into the Northwest Meriwether Lewis recorded the sight of vast blue-flowering camas meadows in several journal entries, "the quamash is now in blume and from the colour of its bloom and at a short distance it resembles lakes of fine clear water, so complete is this deseption that on first sight I could have swoarn it was water." By the 1860s and 1870s, many of the camas meadows were already being plowed-up by white settlers, and the careful work that first nation people had done to...

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The Opposite of Digital

 We don’t blog enough. At least not as much as you are “supposed” to for maximizing your social media marketing impact. Mostly we don’t blog much because the internet is sort of exhausting – an artificial ecosystem where nothing much is real. Our life as a family and as a business is inherently analog. As adult farmers/business owners/ecologists we came of age in an earlier era – one of zines and cassette mixed tapes – a kind of DIY punk culture that was once commonplace. Most of what we do with this business is a holdover of those sensibilities. We make every single seed envelope by hand out of recycled paper on a manual die-cutting machine. We fold every...

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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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