12 May 2009

Reality Gardening

Two summers ago, upon turning 40, I discovered gardening. (Hey, better late than never, right?) I've dug up parts of the lawn to put in flowers and I've studied up on how to keep them healthy and make them look better.

The soil in our area is sandy and lousy for growing anything other than thistles. Many of our neighbors practially re-do their lawns each year, because the sandy soil, combined the havoc wreaked by the snow plows and the serious ant problem (and yes, it is serious - they have taken over the neighborhood) makes the lawns look like they are constantly gasping for life.

We don't do this. We mow our lawn when it needs it and we let the rain water it. Once in a while we'll put weed & feed on it, but not often. As you can imagine, it doesn't look great - but my motto is, "Hey, weeds are green, too!"

To make it worse, our next door neighbor has a lawn service visit once a month and his hobby is taking care of the grass, the flowers, the trees, the bushes, and even the surrounding woods. It's lovely to look at, but it also makes our yard look THAT MUCH WORSE. Oh well, in all honesty it probably bothers him more than it bothers us.

But back to the flowers. I babied them all last summer, and they behaved like a finicky child, not sure they wanted to live with me or commit horticultural suicide. Some of them chose that option and have not returned this season. Many of the others have popped up but look like they might reconsider the other option. My sweet talking and coddling may still work; after all, it is early.

But then when I look around, I wonder why we all don't just focus on the weeds. Even though I give the dandelions no food and I regularly put weed killer on them, they still seem to THRIVE. This year, while many of my beloved flowers have popped out of the ground, they are still small and have not yet bloomed. The dandelions, however, are everywhere. They are beautiful and healthy and HUGE.

What the heck?

I'm definitely going to re-think this. If I let the dandelions just take over the entire yard and garden, it won't take long for them to spread their seeds and they will be everywhere. And let's face it, they are pretty when they bloom.

Somehow I don't think my neighbor will look kindly on this. Especially when the seeds descend on HIS yard.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes


Duane said...

You would probably like my green lawn, its moss. I have an ongoing battle with it trying to have a nice lawn. Maybe I need to take your approch. Let it be and be happy with it.

fourwindsphotojournal said...

That is always a problem when in a neighborhood. I love the wild plants in the grass, and don't worry about it.

But, I am careful not to plant things, like thistles, that might make their way into the hayfield next door.

Laura said...

We've lived in two houses: one next to the crazed lawnmower man, who mowed his lawn EVERY day in the summer, and owned 4 different mowers; and one with a psycho neighbor who mows almost every day, and does it after dark!

My philosophy is simple: if it's green, it's good enough for me. That includes dandelions, moss, and clover. For my leach field: wildflower seeds.

I think you should embrace the dandelions and learn to make wine from them!

Pat said...


WikiCity needed a Maine-related blog to feature on its home page, and after reviewing a dozen or so, we liked your's best. Nice work, & we hope this helps drive some traffic your way! It can be seen here: www.WikiCity.com


Connie said...

Wow! Wikicity! That's pretty cool! Your blog is great. My yard is looking great, due to my husband the natural gardener. I can't tell you how many people have stopped to take pictures of "my" wildflowers.

Paulla said...

Duane - the moss sounds great. Very soft.

Laura - our neighbor mows his lawn nearly that often, and sometimes at night - but at least he's not crazed. His lawn just makes ours look so bad.

Pat - thank you so much!

Connie - I remember your garden from last fall. I want to LIVE in your garden... and walk to your beach!

jessica said...

Its just an amazing blog... i just loved it.. thanks for the information..

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