In the News

Join us for the final meadow walk of the season. Thursday, September 12 Indian Hill Meadow at Boyce Park

September 3, 2019

To sign up for a free meadow walk, contact the Parks Foundation at 724-327-7627 or info@acparksfoundation.org.

Fall interest in the Indian Hill Meadow in Boyce Park

by Penn State Master Gardener Attila Csokai

A meadow is a diverse mix of native flowers and grasses; an ecologically important source of food, shelter and reproduction site for many insects, birds, and animals. The Boyce Park meadow was designed to provide beauty and function from early spring into late fall and throughout the winter. Flowering plants and grasses come into and out of bloom throughout the growing season, overlapping with each other as they make their transitions.

 While a number of meadow plants flower from early spring into the height of summer, the most spectacular meadow display will occur from mid-summer to late fall. A great number of flowers and grasses, including grasses such as Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) will provide beauty and a food source well into February of next year. Flowers expected to be blooming throughout September also include Ox-Eye Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides), Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Asters and a number of Goldenrods.

 As we prepare for fall and winter, instead of tucking the meadow into bed as we often do in our gardens, it is valuable to leave it unmowed well into spring, leaving the stalks of flowers and grasses for wildlife to feast on. As the season begins to unwind, it is not only the seed heads that provide value still, but the spent stems also support overwintering insects, many of them laying their eggs in the hollow stems.

 Goldfinches for example do like to eat the seeds from Purple Coneflower, along with the closely-related Rudbecia sp. It is noteworthy, that finches in general, will avoid eating from the ground, strongly preferring eating seeds from the flowerheads instead. If you pause for a moment, you may just observe goldfinches at Boyce Park doing just that. Many native and honey bees and dragonflies are still active and can be observed.

The Indian Hill Meadow in Boyce Park was planted in 2017 following the recommendations of the Boyce Park Ecological Assessment and Action Plan. The success of this inaugural meadow has led to the planting of additional meadows in summer 2019 in South Park and Hartwood Acres Park. Meadows are also being planned for North and Round Hill Parks.

 Here is a list of plants in the Boyce Park meadow mix expected to be blooming from August to October:

Solidago nemoralis
Gray Goldenrod
Aster laevis
Smooth Aster
Aster novae-angliae
New England Aster
Aster oblongifolius
Aromatic Aster
Aster prenanthoides
Zig Zag Aster
Chamaecrista fasciculata
Partridge Pea
Heliopsis helianthoides
Ox-Eye Sunflower
Liatris spicata
Spiked Gayfeather
Rudbeckia fulgida
Orange Coneflower
Rudbeckia hirta
Black Eyed Susan
Senna hebecarpa
Wild Senna
Solidago nemoralis
Gray Goldenrod
Schizachyrium scoparium
Little Bluestem
Elymus virginicus
Virginia Wildrye


 

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