Meadow Visitor Shows Why it’s So Good to Plant Native Wildflowers

August flowers burst with a beautiful palette in our new meadow.
August flowers fill our meadow.

A few years ago, Sarah and I decided that we didn’t need an entire acre of front lawn to mow. So we prepared a small meadow, a rectangle of roughly 50×120′, by clearing and rolling in seeds for Indiana native flowers and grasses we purchased from a supplier we researched online, American Meadows.

Every year we watch the colors emerge, diverse species of birds frolic, and monarch butterflies, carpenter bees, honeybees and other insects feast on bee balm, butterfly weed, cup flowers, cone flowers, milkweed, and so much more (here’s a great guide at

Purple milkweed blooms. This plant hosts monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars.
Purple milkweed blooms. This gorgeous plant full of berrylike flowers hosts monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars.

Being native, the meadow is resilient to weather (doesn’t need watering or mowing), shows off an ever changing palette of blue, purple, orange, yellow, and red petals, and needs minimum maintenance to avoid succession.

Grassy front lawn before the meadow.
Before the meadow
The meadow one year later.
The meadow one year later.

We find it amazing how small an area makes a viable and interesting habitat right in front of our house. Lately I’ve been able to track some of our night visitors using a Bushnell trail camera that takes nighttime images, like this little buck who wandered through the other yesterday.

A little buck wanders through our meadow at about 3:15 am, setting off the "Meadowcam."
A little buck wanders through our meadow at about 3:15 am, setting off the “Meadowcam.”

The buck is a great reminder of how, with a little sweat, it’s possible to make a beautiful, sustainable meadow, help the ecosystem, and bring nature close to home. Great for teaching the kid natural science, as well!

Monarch feeding on a yellow cup plant flower.
Monarch feeding on a cup plant flower.
A monarch warms in the sun.
Monarch warms in the sun.

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