After our drain tile renovation destroyed our lawn, we laid sod.
In the 10 years following, other plants joined the grassy monoculture. Our classic lawn has become more of an urban meadow.
I still enjoy the tidy look of a freshly mown lawn… all smooth & green… But I appreciate the wildflowers, too.
And I’m not alone.
The local deer seem to be spending more time grazing the meadow than they do harvesting in the ornamental beds.
Hooray for that!
For the moment, I can enjoy watching the young family – – rather than spend my time shooing them out of the garden.
Wild clover naturalized early on. It mostly blooms white, like the short Dutch clover, but often with a hint of pink. I wonder if it’s interbred with the larger red clover which we grew fields of on the homestead? So sweet. Think clover honey…
(FYI – I’ve never been stung in our yard).
Self-heal, aka purple deadnettle, works wonderfully as a low growing groundcover too. Like the clover, it stays green while grass browns in the summer dry. Prunella vulgaris blossoms attract more beneficial insects into our yard. The seed feeds birds, too.
The European Creeping Buttercup is well established under our apple tree & along the shady foundations of the house. Ranunculus repens resides safely below the lawnmower blades. It colonizes via runners. New roots spring off a runner a few inches from the mother plant, creating a baby. Then the same runner continues along for more adventures. In our yard, it’s never crept toward the drier, sunnier areas.
C thinks the buttercup is pretty.
But the deer avoid the whole plant. They’ll graze carefully all around it. To mammals, buttercup is toxic. (Blisters inside the mouth & throat are reason enough to avoid.)
That said, insects enjoy the flowers.
I recently learned from Dr. L. A. Gilkeson that insects have declined at least 45% since the 1970s. (!! That’s 10 times faster than we’re losing mammals !!) The decline is mostly due to habitat loss – and lawns don’t count as ‘habitat’ if they’re monocultures.
In fact, untended weedy lots have more insects than a diverse ornamental garden. Perhaps in relaxing our ideas about the golf green lawn, we’re helping sustain the insect population that’s left? I’m confident our meadow hosts far more insects than the post-reno sod did.
This meadow is undoubtedly better for the birds & bees. The deer like it more. And it’s less maintenance for us. With the deer helping out, C doesn’t need to mow or fertilize it as often. We don’t water it as much. Granted, the meadow wants to creep into the decorative borders just like a grass lawn does. So, I’m still edging the beds. Oh well, one day I’ll come up with a solution for that. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the flowers & all the wildlife. 🙂
Here are some other meadows: