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August Wild Gardens Update

By Geneva Langley, Head Gardener, Wild Gardens of AcadiaGenevaLangley

The Meadow is one of my favorite habitats at the Wild Gardens of Acadia. Despite its unruly appearance, the Meadow actually takes a good deal of attention and weeding. There are many plants in the Meadow and it is a challenge to ensure that each species isn’t quickly overgrown by its neighbors.

In the early part of the summer, the Meadow is a constant green, interspersed here and there with bursts of color: Pink steeplebush and roses, yellow St. John’s-wort, shrubby cinquefoil and yellow rattle, the unexpected spectacular orange of Canada lily, among others. When these blooms start to pass, a new magic awaits! As July transitions to August, the Meadow truly comes into its own. The first asters and goldenrods are in flower! Waiting for this moment to happen is bittersweet. There is the anticipation of a riot of colorful blossoms and the realization that summer has reached its tipping point and starts to lean a little bit more toward autumn.

Garden visitors react to the Meadow in different ways.  Some remark that the Meadow resembles their own yard when left un-weeded. A few give the Meadow wide berth and rush past by when the goldenrods are in bloom, even though the flowers’ heavy, sticky, insect-carried pollen is not the allergen they fear it to be (the blame, of course, lies with the inconspicuous, non-native ragweed and its irritating, airborne pollen grains). Have you ever looked closely at a goldenrod flower? It is stunning.  Our native Meadow wildflowers deserve a second look. At this very moment, the white flat-top aster, early goldenrod and Canada goldenrod are in bloom. Next come the rough-stem and grass-leaved goldenrods, followed by New York aster, calico aster and late goldenrod. When September arrives the lovely magenta and purple New England asters make their appearance. As the Meadow plants begin to wane in October, the New England aster flowers on. By the end of the month, the last asters have gone to seed. Finally the Meadow is mowed down to prevent the return of the forest.

In bloom this week: Rattlesnake plantain orchid, cardinal flower, harebell, germander, spatulate-leaved sundew, and more!

In fruit this week: Mountain holly, lowbush, downy and highbush blueberry, red baneberry

Posted 8/5/13

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