I want to help save the bees and also save my conscience. As I’ve written in the past we stopped paying for “lawn care” companies to come and spray toxins on our grass. The financial savings is nice but saving the bees from being poisoned is our priority. Wayne comes from a lifetime of striving for golf-course like grass. He didn’t like when a chipmunk left some dirt from digging a burrow. Now he loves them as if they are our own children and he loves the bees. We NEED BEES. So we’ve had to make some personal attitude shifts and changes, and it’s ongoing.
I learned last spring during the pandemic that I actually enjoy weeding dandelions. It’s meditative and excellent exercise. In the past few weeks I believe I may have uprooted over two hundred in our front yard. We love clover and that stays. But there is a new weed that has begun to join the fray and I know that I will have to make my peace with it.
Our backyard is very shady because of our woods that surround it and it’s been difficult to get grass to take in many areas. When we stopped applying herbicides we were pleasantly surprised at how nicely wild strawberries filled in.
Wayne mows once a week so the little blossoms aren’t always present, and the ones we let go wild surrounding our garden beds do eventually turn into teeny tiny adorable berries that the birds enjoy. Furthermore we have many butterflies and bees that are attracted to them.
If you have your yard treated for weeds, please be sure that there aren’t any flowering during the application! They will need to be mowed to minimize the impact to pollinators. However, no applications are best for them.
Now the strawberries are making their way to the front yard. While we want a natural yard we still work to keep it looking as lovely as it can be. We are socialized to believe what beauty means for a yard, and more specifically what is to be considered evil, to be eradicated, killed at any cost! I mean, what will the neighbors think?! That sure makes for good marketing! Just like the anti-aging industry, the green lawn dream means investing in unrealistic cosmetic standards that can do more harm than good. I personally prefer making healthy, thrifty choices that are about taking pride in being a good steward of our land. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about how it looks! It gets watered and mowed regularly, I weed the dandelions. We take good care of our perennials and annuals. Lucky for us most of the people in our neighborhood of older homes share our approach.
There is one exception that we hopefully won’t have to employ, and that is grub control. Speaking of which, here’s a quote I really appreciate: “Grubs only eat the roots of grasses,” Dill said. “I have a nice green lawn because all I have growing out there are weeds.” Jim Dill is the pest management specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension. It kind of tells you something if his solution for a green lawn is to not insist on it being grass!
We will consider growing an English flower garden in parts of our front yard in the future which would actually look lovely, I think, with our little cottage. I’m definitely not into cookie-cutter, perfectly manicured homemaking and gardening!