Monday, September 7, 2009

Native Plant Seminar: Creating a meadow

For me, the highlight of the recent Native Plant Seminar at Irvine Nature Seminar was a talk by Larry Weaner on Creating Native Meadows. Larry Weaner is a landscape architect focused on native plants and natural landscapes.

As I mentioned before, I have never really been that interested in a creating a meadow. They are beautiful, of course, but that carefree look always seemed like it took a lot of work.

Mr. Weaner started his talk by saying nature has always been influenced by humans and it is wrong to say that the best thing we can do is go away, leave things alone. A book that demonstrates this point is: Tending the Wild by M. Kat Anderson.

I thought this was a great point, and one that often gets lost in the native plant community. Often, people equate “native plants” with “let nature take its course.” But in reality, humans have always impacted nature and continue to do so. The very idea of actively planting natives and trying to restore habitats is an act of human intervention.

That said, Mr. Weaner also made a real distinction between developing habitats and creating gardens. Gardens are areas that are actively managed, weeded, watered. Habitats, on the other hand are lower (but still some) maintenance and focus on planting plant communities that are adapted to a specific areas. Plant communities (and not just plants) are key – it is important to plant different species that each play a role in the environment. Mono cultures, however beautiful, are difficult to maintain.

So, interesting theoretical info, but what does that mean in terms of creating a Native Plant a meadow in Maryland? Unfortunately, I am not really sure, because I did not sign up for the afternoon session!

However, I now have a mini-obsession with meadows, so I am trying to learn more. When I do, I will share it here.


  1. Great information on your blog for Maryland Gardening enthusiasts! We have added 2 Green Acres to our favorites list on

  2. Thanks Ria - I love the work that you guys are doing. Great coverage on WYPR today! Also, just to let you know, your "subscribe" feature on the blog does not seem to be working.

  3. I just stumbled across your blog, and I find it to be very interesting! I happened to attend the same seminar at Irvine, and I actually made it to the meadow workshop. He covered similar material to that in his seminar, only a bit more in depth. You may find some additional information from an article I found on the NY Times website in which they profile Mr. Weaner. He gives the basics for creating a meadow in the article. Search Google for "larry weaner meadow ny times". -Bob

  4. Hi Bob - Thanks for the tip. I will take a look at the article.