Country Meadow Bed

One of the most satisfying parts of gardening is clearing out the clutter from a bed. This involves dividing plants that have become huge of their own accord. It also means taking out plants that will devour others and repurposing them somewhere more appropriate. From my standpoint, after my few years of professionally gardening, there are some plants that simply don’t belong in a manicured garden bed. Yet, I suppose, part of the manicuring could be keeping these plants from choking out others. If you were more of a hobby gardener though, it could become the majority of your time spent gardening.

Version 2

Coreopsis and gooseneck loostrife have taken over this bed.

Perennial plants that do exceptionally well in the Hudson Valley area, frequently having “runner roots” or naturalizing qualities, are the most susceptible to take over your tidy garden beds. These plants include:

  • Mint
  • Coreopsis
  • Bee Balm
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Orange Day Lillies
  • Goose Neck Loostrife
  • Yarrow *
  • Astilbe
  • Iris
  • Mounding Geranium
  • Echinacea

Do you have a particular plant I didn’t list that is being a bully?

Write a note in the comments and let me know!

If a country meadow is your aesthetic for formal beds and you simply wish to weed intermitently and cut everything back once in the autumn, no judgement here! If you like seeing which one of your plants will dominate them all, more power to you!

Boss and I took on a client a couple years ago who is very tidy and organized with her home and wished for the formal garden bed to be a reflection of this. We watched the plants grow up into one another for the first year (attempting to un-strangle the precious peonies), and this being the second year, we established a plan. Since everyone does enjoy the plants that are currently in the bed, we proposed re-purposing them to create a country meadow bed in a more appropriate area of the property.


This new bed was graciously dug out by a man with a machine (who also had repaired the fence earlier this year). Shout out to him and his help!

This new meadow bed does continue much farther linearly than the photo shows. It will be large enough to transplant all of the wildly growing plants and give them some space to establish. A boxing ring, for them to duke it out, if you will.

It is important that the area you wish to transfer these plants has decent quality soil. It does not need to be the most rich and airy composted material; but it should have decent drainage qualities (looking at you, sandy loam) and enough brown color to denote nutrients. If you need to add soil amendments, incorporate them as the new bed is being formed or directly into the trenches as you plant. Once the new bed is dug up to at least six inches deep, it is a fairly easy process to transplant these flowers, since they are not very delicate. I like to call the method “dump in clumps.”

I should mention, this only applies to the plants listed above for their great tenacity; and should not be used for most transplants that you want to live.

*Once Yarrow is an established plant, it does not always take to being moved. Yet, I have hastily transplanted it with success. No guarantees.

The hardest part is digging them up from their existing area and separating their roots from precious plants you want to remain (like the peonies). However, there is not any great finesse required when it comes to planting them.

Dig a trench and dump in clumps!


Cover the roots with dirt and give it a gentle press with your foot.


That’s it!

Simple as that. You would be hard-pressed to find that these plants have completely died after transplanting them. They are so hardy that making your own country meadow bed should be as easy as giving the roots just a little bit of room and dirt to grow in. Also, since this bed is deemed more of a meadow, the only maintenance will be to weed grass out of it and to chop it all down at the end of the growing season. This is a great plan to re-use your beautiful bully plants elsewhere and make room for your prized nursery finds.

5 thoughts on “Country Meadow Bed”

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