Monday, May 04, 2009

I've won, I think

I'm weird. Better, I like weird things. I've known for some time that my tastes differ from most people's and I deal with it. Specifically, I am not a big fan of grassy lawns. I give advice to people on landscaping and they always ask me, "what should I do with my lawn". I know they won't like my answer so I rarely bother offering anything. When we first moved into the Tiny Bungalow, the back "lawn", and I use the term loosely consisted of a field of about 10% grass, 20% clover, and 70% this stuff:It's called broadleaf plantain and to me, it is just about the most unattractive thing in a lawn, besides grass. I don't use chemicals and I don't do much to care for my lawn but for the past few years, one by one, I have been pulling this stuff out, along with the stray dandelions that pop up. If you are going to do this, I recommend doing between 5 and 10 a day. It takes patience but the result is worth it. This spring, as depicted in the photo above, only one single broadleaf plantain came up and the lawn now looks like this:I am sure that most folks think this is crazy. I know my weed-be-gone, round-up, re-seed loving neighbor thinks it is. I think its fantastic. It is almost a perfect cloud of clover now. Most people treat clover like a weed but I have actually been trying to get it to look like this pulling grass and weeds for years. I still have the stray dandelion but otherwise, it is mostly clover now. The only downside to this is that it does attract bees, many of them. I am not sure I would recommend such a lawn to anyone that is allergic. My next battle is already sprouting up though. For some reason, I have tons of raspberry bushes coming up in the middle of the yard. I counted 12 this year. It would be funny to let them go but walking in bare feet, on raspberry bushes, is not fun.Since we are on the subject of weird crap I like and how I let weeds grow just about everywhere, I threw in a couple pics of the bluebells coming up in the cracks at the back porch and near the patio. I am not a big "edger" either and I like my landscape edges a little fuzzy. I'll never understand why folks buy or rent those machines to cut clean lines along their concrete walks. Anyway, when it comes to filling in the nooks and crannies, my favorite plant is the bluebell. I wrote about why I like bluebells last year. I cast a lot of seed and did some transplanting last year and they are coming up even bushier this year. I think these are going to look great in another month or so. Finally, a shout-out to another nice-looking lawn plant. I know that some folks truly detest this stuff but I think it's great. It is called "creeping charlie" and is a bit more difficult to tend as it grows like crazy. Either way, it looks fantastic in the spring. I like the English name for it better: ale hoof. I let it grow in between the walkway stones and around the entry to the garage. Keeping it out of the garden and planting area is a little chore but well worth it because it creates a carpet of blue flowers this time of year. I want to put some of this to take over my parkway but I haven't had the guts to do it yet.

10 comments:

sweetlenny said...

You'd love my lawn then - it looks like a field of parsley or cilantro.

We get the blue flowers too, but just sporadically, so it doesn't look that good. But I'm glad to know there's a name for it!

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

A philosophical lesson from gardening: before you kill something, you should at least know it's name.

Andy said...

I have creeping charlie all over my backyard, and, sadly, it likes my garden too. I'm hoping to keep it at bay in the raised veggie beds (part of why, actually, I raised them...to smother out the creeping charlie and get above the floodline in the back).

And, it should be noted, that philosophy of yours probably could extend beyond gardening...I could hear that quote in a movie somewhere...

jay said...

Ha. I just Twittered about no-mow lawns today! In addition to clover, I particularly like Irish Moss and other flowery low ground covers like violets, and am considering this for our front yard and getting out of the mowing business.

StuccoHouse said...

When I was growing up they actually put clover seed onto grass seed intentionally. Somewhere along the line they evidently decided it was a weed. My block is definitely not into the lawn thing (thankfully). I did battle blue bells when I moved in mostly because they easily take over an entire garden. I also am in full battle pulling up my neighbor's creeping charlie making it's way into my herb garden. Although, my other neighbor has his boulevard full of it and it's blooming now.

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

I hadn't really thought about the no-mow consequence of such lawns. This will be the first year where the clover has really taken over. I don't intend on mowing it right away. We'll see. It surely attracts more wildlife though. The bunnies and birds are a little crazy this year.

design girl said...

the clover looks so soft and pretty, and since you have a garden those bees won't go unhappy, they've got plenty of work to do.

as for the parkway . . . when you know that there will be some post-dusk drinking have some ready for transplant, liquid courage will take you the rest of the way :)

Green Fairy said...

My neighbor across the street pulls his weeds by hand with one of those little tools, and sighs at our massive clover field. Right now, it's filled with hundreds of dandelions, which I think are pretty. Poor dandelions always get a bad rap.

Helen said...

I'm hardly all about eco-friendly, but I don't like chemicals on my lawn, where the kitties play. I pull up weeds by hand, too, and don't care if my lawn is grass or something else. As long as it's green, I'm happy.

Fargo said...

I love the clover lawn. Much more interesting than turf grass. If one could choose a weed to invade the lawn, there are much worse things to look at than creeping charlie and violets.

Too many people in my neighborhood do the lawn chemical thing. Not for me, thanks. Nearly 100% organic here. I've been working on my significant other (who grew up with the lawn slave mentality) to convert him to the idea that alternatives to turf grass can be much healthier and lower maintenance.

We've replaced a few areas of grass with flowers and ornamentals, and are planning on more this summer. He's becoming a convert.