6.27.2005

Delights of an Unkempt Lawn

Several years ago we started reducing the amount of lawn area we maintain at our house.

The idea of a monoculture of grass, cut to regulation length just doesn't hold much appeal for us -- partly because of all those years of having to cut grass two or more times a week when we were growing up and partly because we find lawns to be, well, sterile.

We like our weeds and the variety of insects and other beasties they attract. I realize a "jungle" yard isn't for everyone, but it suits us.

One of our favorite things about not cutting the grass is the little surprises we find in the natural sections of the yard...


...like this little orchid, called Ladies'-tresses...


...and these Common Yellowthroat hatchlings in a nest just a few inches off the ground.

10 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

Well it wouldn't do in suburbia, but I think it's great that it works for you. When I got back home after more than a three-week absence, my garden was riotously overgrown. For the first time ever, I had an abundance of thistles -- along with buckets and buckets of other weeds.

Rurality said...

I found a ladies tresses yesterday too - right after my brother in law stepped on it. :(

Ontario Wanderer said...

I am always interested in what grows where. We have both Ladies' tresses and Common Yellowthroats here in Ontario too and I saw the Ladies' tresses in Newfoundland a couple of years ago.

username said...

I've never seen that particular flower before. It's beautiful!

the dharma bum said...

this piece was well-timed... a native prairie grass project at a YWCA in minneapolis was recently mowed by city workers because it violated city ordinances.

unbelievable, eh?

http://babelogue.citypages.com:8080/blotter/2005/06/28#a452

http://www.startribune.com/stories/465/5475508.html (registration required)

oh yeah... beautiful flowers and photos!

Deb said...

Baby yellowthroats-what a great photo! I have them at my place, but I never knew they nested close to the ground like that.

In the rural area where I live, I often see someone with a 5-10 acre lot who mows every square inch, even in the road ditch. It's a sure sign of too much time on one's hands...sigh...

Sher said...

My husband and I bought a house the end of last summer. This spring I had high ambitions for a garden and landscaping. But I quickly found myself overwhelmed and unable to do it all. One of the things I never got to was: I had wanted to rip up a patch of pricker bushes and weeds. Good things I didn't, since I am still learning about plants, I found out they were raspberry bushes and pink peonies!!

I love your blog! I always love wandering around my yard looking for new flowers that have popped up and things like deer and hummingbirds!

Wayne said...

It's a shame about the Spiranthes clomping brother - surely there's something, some surgery or *something* that can be done.

I'll never regret getting rid of my lawn. I used to spend 2.5 hours a week mowing it, and for no reason at all (other than "harvesting carbon", which is what I called it).

For those who live in urban or suburban or *whew* exurban areas, buy a load or two of wood chips from a tree-cutting company. Spread them thick to kill the grass. Mark out your paths and then plant natives to grow up in the other areas. Start with something pretty like blackeyed susans, cardinal flowers, native grasses. You'll pay for the chips in fertilizer, mower gasoline, and time spent, in no time, and no one can complain about the lack of a lawn because what you've done looks incredible.

Keith, RN said...

We are surrounded by pine trees and our "lawn", such as it is, resembles a forest floor. A little grass grows and we mow it with a push-mower several times a season. If I ever have a house with a lawn, I'll buy a few goats and set them a-mowin'....

Annette Aravena said...

Awww! That is so cute. That's really one great perk of having an unkempt lawn. Although it does concern me that you’re keeping them unkempt, since it can house really dangerous animals. Overall, I think this is a very cute sight on your garden.
Annette Aravena