I mow the lawn around our house. I like it. It is exercise. It is outside. It gets me vitamin D. I get a sense of satisfaction seeing it raggedy, then tidy. And like all good gardeners, I notice things. For the past few weeks, each time I’ve gone out into my yard I’ve found a new excuse for a blog posts. So here is yet another.
As I was saying in the previous post about the French villa lawn, I embrace the clover in my yard. I welcome it. It is adding nitrogen to my soil and helping to break up the heavy clay. And I love flowers. They are pretty. And I love bees, they make it possible for me to eat food. Bees love clover. So if the bees that feed me love clover, I do, too. It’s really as simple as that. (And yeah, there are other weeds in my lawn—in the sunny areas. They make pretty flowers, too.)
So I pushed the mower into the back yard where, for some reason, there is much more clover than in the front. And I noticed something. See the upper photo. All those little white dots are clover flowers. I snapped this photo at a location about half the distance between the fence I’m facing in this upper photo, and the fence you can see in the lower photo. I’m standing in the sunshine just outside of the shade of a large Hawthorn tree.
Now check out the lower photo. It is taken from the same location as the previous shot, only looking toward the opposite fence. See there is a sprinkling of clover in the sun right up to where the Hawthorn’s shade begins. Then— NO CLOVER.
I recently wrote a post about what a great looking lawn I had in the shade. It is full of our native moss, but it has enough turf grass to look like lawn right up until your eyes are about 2 feet away. What could possibly be UN-good about what looks like a lush green lawn?
The photos here and the others in that previous post show my minimally-maintained lawn. And I really think it looks pretty nice—particularly the lawn in the shade.
So, one of the points of this post is that different plants—call them weeds if you must—grow in different conditions. If you really want a green and weed- and chemical-free lawn, consider creating a shady haven and tolerating our easy, green, native moss as a ground cover that will give the illusion of a lush lawn. If you have a full sun location, know that most of the weeds in our area do best in full sun. The best way to keep weeds out of turf grass lawn in the sunshine is to make the grass as dense, fertile, well-drained, and neutral pH as possible. See this post about growing conditions for both moss and lawn.
Another point of this post is about learning, tolerance and adaptation—and not using chemicals to solve all of our problems. Mother Nature has a certain set of plants that she allows to grow in any specific area. We need to remember that she is really in charge. We need to learn the plants that work in various conditions, and choose accordingly. If we don’t like that set of plants, well, we need to learn, have tolerance for and adapt to new things. Or I guess we need to access our need to have exactly the plants we want, and wait to buy a house until we find one in a yard with exactly the right growing conditions those plants need to thrive.
Choices. We have them. I’m advocating the use of less chemicals. And when we choose to work naturally with Mother Nature, we tend to have better overall success in our gardens.