Designing Meadows

Larry Weaner headlines VNLA Summer Trade Show

designing meadows

Fairfax, Vermont

This year’s VNLA Summer Trade show was held at Fairfax Perennial Farm. Owners Hannah and Dana Decker were kind enough to host this event at their nursery operation in Fairfax, Vermont. The drive along Brick Church Road with its open fields provided plenty of foreshadowing into the day’s topic of meadow design.

meadow lot

As you can see in the photo to the right, this was a highly anticipated event. The VNLA meetings hardly disappoint and always seem to include speakers who are great educators.

Another sunny summer day in Vermont set a more than appropriate stage for a day with one of our design heroes. Larry Weaner has been designing meadows in the Northeast for the better part of the last 3 decades! Receiving several awards along the way, along with a few published books, Larry is at the forefront of naturalistic design.

Lecture 1

I only planned for a half-day at the event and was lucky enough to catch both of Larry’s lectures. The first included tips on establishing your eco-niche. Weaner has his own obvious niche in meadow design, but finding your own as a firm can take several years of market observation.

designing meadows
Larry Weaner lectures in a greenhouse in Fairfax, Vt.

“Understanding the ecological process requires stepping out of garden-scale thinking.”

Proponents of many of the ideals Weaner proposes, we’ve spent the past several years refining how we integrate these beliefs within our firm. As a result, we continue to see widespread support from those looking to form closer connections to nature.

Vendor Visits

If you’ve read our prior trade show posts, you know how much we admire our friends at Van Berkum Nursery. Though Leslie is now retired, she was more than generous with her time as we stumbled through new and standout perennial selections. Are you having trouble with Echinacea this year? Check out Peter Van Berkum’s favorite below. Continuing our push of designing meadows, Van Berkum is an invaluable ally in these efforts.

Another stop before the second lecture was at the Riverwalk Farm booth. We met Schuyler shortly after he opened at a VNLA twilight event a couple years back. Buying Cobble Creek’s potted inventory allowed a jump-start to his growing process and he hasn’t looked back since. We’re hoping to do more direct business with Riverwalk in the near future.

Lecture 2

Meadow Designer
Weaner book signing

The second part of Weaner’s lecture series on designing meadows expounded on part one. Giving the audience additional tips on growing business with sustainability in mind.

Designing meadows is an intricate process and not for the faint of heart. If you’re committed to a designed meadow for your property, consider these insights as provided by Weaner:

  • when seeding a landscape, choose species that are good seed producers since seed mix quality can vary
  • modeling gardens around nature does not exclude using art as an element
  • exploiting an undesirable plant’s weakness is the best way to get rid of it

Final Thoughts

Overall, it was a great day to be in Fairfax with our friends at VNLA. As we’ve improved our knowledge of designing meadows, we also come away with a feeling of camaraderie in the effort to make our living spaces more natural.

ZBA Designed Meadow in its 2nd Year in Intervale, NH.

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