MeadowWe’re all starting to notice promising signs of spring. Birds are headed north. Rain is falling, and days are getting longer. In warmer climates, blossoms are popping on dogwood trees and bright green buds are appearing on azalea bushes. In colder climates, where the occasional snow may still even fall, crocus, grape hyacinth and (aptly named) snowdrops are pushing up through the cold earth.

It’s that time of year again when we’re starting to think garden. What flowers will bring us joy? What will our friends and neighbors do to change up their landscapes – and what can we plant to make them applaud? Let’s get our hands dirty.

Native Plants and Mini Meadows

If you grew up in the country, enjoy hikes through nature preserves or even just appreciate taking in the view of a field filled with wildflowers as you head to the gym, you may love the new contained meadows trend.

Many gardeners this year are going native, and there are many reasons to join them. Wildflowers are beautiful. With a multitude of colors, heights and shapes, wildflowers have many nuances that never fail to keep our eyes busy. Some wispy and elegant, others stalky and sprawling, they can add a touch of English cottage feel – and a lot of charm – to any apartment or home, modern or traditional.

A garden full of pretty native flowers and grasses can also make your life easier and save you money. Because these plants naturally thrive in your community, once they’re established in your garden, they shouldn’t require any fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. They shouldn’t even require much watering – natural rainfall will likely be enough to sustain them.

Native flowers will also draw some additional beauty into your view. These plants attract a variety of birds and butterflies to your yard. They’ll also bring in beneficial insects like the praying mantis, which is always exciting to spot and will devour all sorts of garden pests.

As you gaze out at your landscape, beyond taking in the beauty of your native plants, you can feel good about your contribution to supporting local ecology. You’ll be providing wild animals with the habitat they need to survive. Native plants offer both a protective cover in which animals can hide, and nourishment, such as seeds, nuts, fruits and nectar, that wild animals can consume.

Fairy Gardens

The fairy garden, or mini garden, is also popular and lovely. These gardens appeal to both experienced gardeners and those whose thumbs have never been green, from people living in mansions to those who reside in tiny homes.

Mini gardens, pint-sized idyllic little worlds, are created by cleverly arranging and planting small flowers, herbs and greeneries within clay pots, metal buckets and wooden barrels. Some people arrange little homes, birdbaths and trellises within the dwarf gardens. Others build brick or stone paths that wind through the mini world. You may spot small fairy replicas lazing or frolicking among the flowers within these gardens.

These gardens can sit inside a home on a window seat, a dining room table or a bookshelf. They can live on the porch of a small apartment overlooking a big city. Or, micro gardens may reside within larger outdoor gardens. Petite gardens can create a new, charming and unique point of interest within a large garden filled with other beautiful flowers and grasses.

Who knows? You could even place these contained little universes among your wild and carefree personal contained meadow! What do you think? Will you plant native this year? Will you create a fairy garden?

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