For decades, Westporters have watched meadows disappear. New homes replace open space. Natural grass gives way to well-manicured, well-meaning — yet artificial-looking — lawns.
It’s hard to imagine a new meadow being created anywhere. But it’s happening on Prospect Road.
John and Melissa Ceriale are already Westport heroes for the beauty they’ve brought to Greens Farms. Gardens, trees, bushes and walking paths fill their 8-acre property.
The couple — noted philanthropists and volunteers — have a vision. Noted landscape designer Cindy Shumate brings it to life.
And they’re in it for the long haul. “In 40 years, the trees we’re planting now will be magnificent,” Cindy says.
Right now, it’s the meadow that’s drawing raves.
Early this spring, Cindy planted 4,600 3-inch perennial plugs on an acre of land, at the far end of #25 Prospect. They’ll grow in slashes, she says, self-sowing in the lawn grass to create a “wild meadow.”
Already, that lawn grass is 18 to 20 inches high. It moves in the wind. “So beautiful and natural,” Cindy says. “It’s what anyone’s lawn would look like if they stopped mowing.”
She likens her role to a painter. Instead of a brush, her medium is plants.
“People out on their COVID walks pass by,” Cindy says. “They’re curious. I wave, and they come over to the stone wall to talk.”
One man stared as he drove by. Then he backed up to chat, and learn more.
“Everyone is amazed that someone would purchase a piece of land and not put a home on it,” Cindy says. “But John and Melissa have a larger perspective. As they add land, they’re putting this parcel together so that it really works with nature.”
A parcel of land with gardens, walking paths, and now a meadow. What is Westport coming to?
(Hat tip: Samuel Wang)