Sunday, May 16, 2010

The grass is always greener...

"I am not a lover of lawns. Rather would I see daisies in their thousands, ground ivy, hawkweed, and even the hated plantain with tall stems, and dandelions with splendid flowers and fairy down, than the too-well-tended lawn."
--William Henry Hudson, author and naturalist (1841-1922)

I agree!

It's lawn-mowing season again, and this time every year I rue the fact we have 2+ acres of lawn to manage. All we have to do is mow; not for us the fertilizing and feeding and obsessive grooming that many homeowners undertake in order to achieve perfect greenswards. We think grass grows just fine by itself (especially where you don't want it!).

Simply mowing it is work and expense aplenty. It's also very un-"green" because we have to use oil and gasoline to beat back field and forest. I've considered letting parts of the yard go wild, but that invites biting creatures closer to the house. By keeping a moat of trimmed grass around us, we limit the mosquitoes, ticks, and blackflies in our main activity area, and remove hiding places for bird and pet predators. Plenty of wilderness remains for them to prowl in.

In May, grass grows so fast and lush that we need to mow twice weekly. Can't be done, though, owing to twice- or thrice-a-week rain. By the time things have dried out enough to rev up the tractor, we need machetes just to find it!

As the season advances, we end up with half a wildflower yard anyway. Islands of clover emerge; we mow around them to leave a banquet for the bees. Volunteer black-eyed Susans pop up; we mow around them because it's too callous to destroy their cheer. And so forth. Ultimately lawnmowing becomes a gymkhana, zooming and dodging around obstacles in summer sport.

Then, before you know it, the season has flashed by and it's time to stow the mower again for seven long months.

Carolyn Haley

Author: The Mobius Striptease (e-novel, Club Lighthouse Publishing)
Open Your Heart with Gardens
(nonfiction, DreamTime Publishing)
First-year blog archives at
Editing Business: DocuMania (

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