Leave it a Lawn, Part Deux

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Look what pops up when you quit mowing…

Another short post here, a continuation, I suppose, of some of my previous lawn posts ( “A Matter of Perception” , “Leave it a Lawn” , and Mr. X’s humorous “Mr. X on Lawn Care” ). I decided, this spring, that we could get a lot of bang for our buck by mowing dramatically less lawn. The trend here in rural Vermont seems to be to mow an extra strip around the yard every year, until most people, by the time they’re in their 50’s, seem to be mowing five acres of grass every week (invariably while sitting aboard loud, exhaust-belching riding mowers). We could nip that trend in the bud, and save some lawn-care time. This decision was also related to the veritable ocean of beautiful dandelion blooms that filled the yard this spring, right when the bees needed that early spring food—I just couldn’t bring myself to mow them down. And finally, in some burst of Zen or Dao or feng shui inspiration (“Getting My Feng Shui On”), we decided to abandon the old semi-rectangular lawn format, and cut the edge of the much-smaller mowed area into sweeping curves, in free-forms around the house and garden, with adjoining curvy mown paths. (All with the electric mower.) The kids complained that the new plan was ruining their field hockey and football field, but we persisted. The relatives probably also think that the unmowed areas are a bit sacrilegious, but hey, we’re probably already beyond redemption in that department.

I’m happy to report that the results have been absolutely fantastic. After the sea of dandelion blooms turned to wispy seed heads, the newly-unmown areas looked a tiny bit ratty for a week or two, but then other wild flowers just appeared, as if by magic. White clover, red clover, buttercups, daisies, vetch and ground ivy, and flowers I don’t even recognize, all over the former lawn. And, all playing host to a huge number of bumblebees, and honeybees from the new hive.

So, win-win-win. Less work, more flowers, more bee and pollinator habitat, and some curvy spiritual calmness to boot. In the end, worth being an object of suspicion in that all-American quest to be just like everybody else.

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