Not quite a year ago I put up a six foot privacy fence around most of my yard. I say most of it, because on the east side of my driveway there is a strip about thirty feet wide, and a hundred or so feet long that we decided to leave unfenced. We did this for a couple reasons, mainly though because any kind of fence on that side makes it difficult to see oncoming traffic when pulling out of the driveway….which is kind of important. This space, which is occupied only by two Bradford Pears and hemmed in at one end with some Arborvitaes, is really a wasted area that needs a purpose.
I have a vision for it though, and it takes the form of a meadow garden. For those who don’t know what a meadow garden is, it is a planting area that basically has been allowed to revert back to a “natural” meadow-like state. When filled with hardy, native plants and wildflowers, these areas serve a very important role. First, they reduce the amount of a non-native and extremely invasive plant that is found in most lawns – grass. Second, they provide food and habitat for smaller animals like rabbits and chipmunks. This can be critical to their survival, especially in the colder months. Another essential service that meadow gardens provide, (and arguably the most important) is a source of food for our pollinators. The role pollinators play in agriculture cannot be understated and they must be protected.
In my situation, having a meadow garden will be mutually beneficial for both myself, and the pollinators as well. Just on the other side of the fence that borders this area, is my vegetable garden. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a steady decline in bees, and I believe this has contributed to some lackluster harvests. I’m hoping that by providing a smorgasbord of wildflowers just a few feet away, bees and other pollinators will be enticed to stick around. If that fails, at the very minimum I’ll at least have something that’s aesthetically pleasing.