This planting of native prairie grasses and flowers depicts an artistic expression of the tallgrass prairie that once covered much of this region. The meadow is burned each spring to maintain a beautiful stand of exuberant native grasses including gamma grass, switchgrass, indian grass and big bluestem.
The billowing grasses reach peak size and plume in mid- to late summer and create a moving display as they wave in the wind. At first frost the grasses turn warm autumn tones from blond to brunette and retain their rich colors through the winter.
Wildflowers are most colorful in midsummer and fall beginning with white foxglove penstemons and golden black-eyed-susans. Gray-headed coneflowers and compass plant steal the late summer show while fall is ablaze with asters, goldenrods and sunflowers.
The Meadow Pavilion, designed by Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings Architects, was dedicated in 1995. Made of redwood, metal and limestone, it offers a sweeping view of the entire garden and a shaded place to rest.
The surrounding planting is not meant to be a true prairie restoration but a landscape that reflects the beauty of our original native prairie. Take some time to walk the upper path to the Meadow Pavilion and overlook the entire gardens as the “fruited plain” under our spectacular spacious skies.
Did you know? Architect Fay Jones designed the Meadow Pavilion's four-layered redwood trellis with several angled ends to create a moving shadow. Learn more »