The title of this gallery could accurately be re-titled "Successional Hayfields," as these fields have had no inputs other than occasional mowing for the last 20 years. It is fascinating to see species of goldenrod and asters, as well as common milkweed, overcoming timothy and other hay grasses.
Goldenrods peak after the tall white asters start to fade.
Last fall, a major migration of painted ladies came through. The wild asters behind the toolshed were their favorite hangout.
Blue-eyed grass is a highlight of the low meadow.
Close-up of blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium sp.
Masses of milkweed in this meadow provide plenty of habitat for Monarchs to lay eggs.
Milkweed blooms in early summer, giving off a heavenly honey scent in the heat of the afternoon.
Fields of goldenrods and asters are magnets for migrating monarchs in fall.
Reading the color patterns in the landscape is an important key to the underlying water flows. The brown patches of woolgrass indicate wetland soils.
This small patch of pearly everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea, is being encouraged to spread through careful mowing.
This old hay field is now dominated by woolgrass in the wetter areas (in the foreground) and asters and goldenrods in the drier areas.
Goldenrods dominate this meadow in fall; the colorful leaves in the distance indicate the location of the bog.
Last spring, the blue-eyed grasses were so abundant that meadows started to turn blue.
This meadow is bordered at the top by a mowed hayfield, providing a finished edge.
Another wild patch of Aster cordifolius has been carefully protected from surrounding construction projects.
This meadow features abundant milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, and goldenrods, Solidago spp., species we now know to be important for wildlife.