The field is beautiful in itself, and an ornament to the house. The question is, can the field be maintained always to look this good?
The plant community we see here is in part a result of disturbance during construction of the new house. Some of the most significant and beautiful plants are ruderals, pioneer plants that quickly come in to colonize open ground, and thus likely to be replaced by other species over time in a natural process of succession.
The first and second photos show feathery dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) in bloom with broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus), the predominating plant in the field. Broomsedge is a keeper and is likely to stay a long time. It's a beautiful field grass, especially in the fall and winter, common throughout the area, well adapted to local conditions. But the dogfennel is a pioneer plant, and is likely to disappear as other, more stable plant communities establish over time. Though it's considered a highly undesirable weed by agriculturalists, it's a striking perennial, with delicate, feathery foliage that captures and reflects light and a flexible structure that allows it to move about in the breeze. It's an animating plant, taller than broomsedge, providing vertical accent, aesthetic interest, and tactile pleasure. If touched, it has a distinctive, highly aromatic odor I find pleasant.
It may be possible to manage the field to retain its ruderal species but that would probably require repeated disturbance of the land surface, perhaps by rough mowing in the late winter, just enough to break the ground surface and expose seeding area for the ruderals to take hold anew each year.
Another option might be to let plant succession occur with minimal intervention (mowing once a year to clear the field for regrowth and prevent its reversion to forest). A third option might be strategic planting of cultivated species appropriate to the environment, actually managing the landscape, almost like a garden.
|A fountain of dogfennel laden with seed.|
|Dogfennel and wooly croton contrast with the thin verticals of broomsedge.|
|A river of wooly croton running up the hill.|
Here, a close up of wooly croton. It's a very attractive plant though not likely to be used widely if it has to be seeded every year. Some experimentation may be in order.
That's just my inclination.