Meadow Gardening

The Meadow style direction of gardening looks to the future but has its roots in the past, taking its inspiration from nature. The focus of the modern meadow garden is on bold groupings of grasses and blocks of perennials randomly planted, with some annuals and ‘see-through’ plants to give a feeling of lightness.

A large area converted into a meadow garden will have space for mown paths, but if space is limited, plant a ‘mini’ meadow alongside a deck or bordering a driveway, and select grasses and flowers that are in proportion to the site. Grasses with their differing growth habits of tassels and spikes, plumes and fountains play an important role, introducing movement, sound, texture and subtle colour.

You may wish to use only indigenous plants and grasses, and what a wonderful choice there is of grasses and flowers. Our South African flora leans itself to the meadow garden. Here are some plants to consider:

  • Eragrostis capensis or Cape Love Grass
  • Aristida junciformis or Aristida Grass
  • Chlorophytum saundersiae or Weeping anthiricum
  • Leonotus leonorus or Wild Dagga
  • Aloe varieties or Aloes
  • Scabiosa columbaria or Rice Flower
  • Osteospermum varieties or African Daisies
  • Dietes grandiflora or Wild Iris
  • Agapanthus africanus or Nile Lily
  • Dierama or Hairbells
  • Bulbenella or Bulbine
  • Lemonium perezii or Statice
  • Tulbachia violacea or Garlic flower
  • Tecomaria capensis or Cape Honeysuckle


The plants above is just a taste of the indigenous plants that will help you to create your own meadow. There are many other plants that will be equally suitable for the meadow garden.


The advantage of the meadow garden is minimal use of water, no fertiliser, no spraying and a biodiverse, wildlife friendly garden.

Just to get you going on your meadow garden you can follow the guidelines below:

  • Autumn is a good time to establish a meadow garden, when growth is not so rampant and plants can become established before winter.
  • In small gardens, use shorter grasses and flowers.
  • Choose an area that receives six to eight hours of sunshine a day.
  • Soil should not be too rich.
  • Only the top few centimetres of the soil should be loosened, as deep digging will bring any buried weed seed to the surface.
  • Keep it simple by restricting the variety of plant material.
  • Choose plants that thrive in your local conditions and repeat plantings in bold groupings.
  • Choose clump-forming grasses.

Use colour freely and joyously, movement and shape are important. Use plants that live well and die well – great sweeps of grasses in combination with easy-to-grow perennials with interesting form. In meadow gardens, plants complete their natural cycle without needing to be pruned or staked, and seed heads are left for interest and for the birds until early spring.

Join us this Friday 21 January for our FREE online workshop on ‘Tropical Splendor for Cold Climates’, with Garden Guru Sue Both.

Please use the following login details to join us at 11am sharp over Zoom:

Meeting ID:824 3417 4164

Passcode: 066443

or use the following direct link:

If you have any gardening questions, feel free to contact your friendly Garden Guru – Sue Both at: