01 Mar A Meadow Restored
Today, this glorious meadow on the sound in Stonington, Connecticut looks the way nature intended. Its restoration is a favorite project of our team but did not come about without a careful hand throughout construction. Though the vista comes off as effortless, its completion required significant work.
Our clients sought to expand and rehab the reedy, colorless coastline that stood between their property and the water. They envisioned a minimalist, native landscape that could serve as a border between the lawn and the home, and selected Anne Penniman Associates to lead the ecological design. The terrain would be a pollinator’s playground and promote a healthy ecosystem.
Our success was to be measured by how seamlessly the new elements could be stitched into the existing meadow. A large swath of the backyard was a boulder-strewn glacial moraine that was to be left largely untouched. These plentiful stones that dotted the site could not be disturbed or marred by machinery, so seeding the grassy passages and beds called for light-touch handwork.
Specified plants, which were abundant in the native landscape, were not commonly available in commercial nurseries. An additional 5,000-square feet of meadow was added by sourcing plants from specialty suppliers and collecting and cultivating seeds from the existing meadow well in advance of the planting stage. Once installed, we could not afford to fully subject the meadow to Mother Nature’s whim. Promoting certain plants and limiting others required frequent monitoring and selective weeding of largely unfamiliar plants, many of which were being established from seed or small plugs. Our team included specialists commissioned to guide this process, which spanned several seasons.
Now, the thriving meadow offers our clients a low maintenance and ecologically friendly landscape, abundant with butterflies and blooming wildflowers. Growing to be about three feet, the meadow does not obstruct views as invasive grasses once did.