Kennett couple creates wildflower meadow

Photo by Chris Barber Kennett resident Tom Nale surveys the flowers in his wildflower meadow.

KENNETT -- A Kennett Township couple has transformed a green, side yard field into a wildflower meadow blooming with multicolored foliage under the summer sun.

Ann and Tom Nale looked out over the open land behind their house last summer and saw not much more than grass and weeds. This summer their eyes are pleasured by all kinds of wild flowers in a full range of bright colors.

By Tom's reckoning, the new landscape takes up about three quarters of an acre, an area that gets a full does of direct sun just about everyday.

The meadow didn't just pop up overnight. In fact, at the end of last summer, the couple began planning for a change.

'I saw the meadow at the township building and decided to do something similar for us and the people as they drive by on McFarlan Road,' Tom Nale said.

So early in the fall they hired an landscape architect, Anne Walters, to plan it out, and a professional landscaper, Brian O'Neill, to carry out the project.

Walters created an abstract shape to fit the lay of the land, and O'Neill set about to get rid of all the old vegetation and plant the new, native plants.

Tom Nale said O'Neill 'drilled' the seeds into the soil, deep enough so the birds wouldn't get them, but because of the mile winter, they didn't germinate, and they had to do it again in the spring.

The plants range in color from deep blue to poppy red, with yellows, purples and oranges.

They have grown to about three-feet tall and have remained at that height. Tom Nale said he does not have to do much maintenance on the meadow because all of the plants thrive in the southeastern Pennsyvania climate.

The Nales own about five acres of land along McFarlan Road, and Tom Nale said he at first wanted to plant the meadow in the 'thicket' near his locust trees. That didn't work, however, because, as he found out, the plants needed more direct sunlight.

He said in October they will cut the field down, and they expect it to return every summer after that.

Aside from the beauty of the flowers, there is another source of satisfaction in the meadow.

'It's attracting a lot of butterflies,' Tom Nale said.

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