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A lawn is not a meadow

This audacious thought, "A lawn is not a meadow." made me chuckle recently. The chuckle was not enjoyment and humor...but guilt that I have in the past almost equated lawn and meadow. A lawn is just a civilized meadow!

Now in my ancient wisdom, I know the difference. The differencES!

A meadow is a deep rooted, complex system of species that support each other's nutritional and survival needs.

A lawn is a mono-cultured system ... with maybe two or three well blended hybrid grasses in the most sophisticated lawns.

Meadows have plants of many shapes and sizes and flowers and root systems.

Meadows attract insects, birds, rodents, moles, snakes and even mammals higher on the food chain. They all dine and cavort and reproduce in splendid robust life cycles.

Lawns are the some of the most polluted postage stamp environmental exhibits we can find. Pesticides. Herbicides. Fertilizers. Animal repellants. Citified water....the list grows with our fertile imaginations.

When will we realize that wildflowers are good things. That native grasses withstand drought and freezes and animal grazing. That soil is a filtering system that can't handle all the chemicals we load it with...and that the overflow goes into our groundwater -- our drinking, bathing and swimming water?

So the next time you look lovingly at your lawn, try envisioning in your mind what your yard COULD look like if you gradually bring back some native plants. Some grasses around the trunks of trees. Some bushes against the house...or sidewalk...or wall. Some wildflowers to pop up in the springtime. Some really tough rooted fellas to hold your embankments against erosion.

Wow...a civilized meadow. It IS possible! Even if we restore a bit of balance one bit at a time. Something is better than nothing! And nature will be your ally...It's amazing what the birds will bring once they find some native food they enjoy. You'll soon have sprouting trees, bustling bushes and unruly grasses to begin the conversion of lawn to meadow.

The concept reminds me of the Mount St Helen's volcano. The photos that showed one tiny plant after another sticking their heads out of the ash and burned landscape. Within a few years (at least in cosmic time), nature had largely restored a functioning landscape.

We humans do have brains that can be applied to the big issues in life. Restoration of meadows might be a place to start!

Best regards for a thoughtful approach to your little corner of paradise...may it be wild at heart. The antithesis of civilized lawns. :-) Carolyn

For more articles about CONSERVATION & GARDENING

When is a plant a weed?
Saving Topsoil
Controlling Slugs and Snails
California Heritage Gardens
Walk Gently with the Earth
Weather and Temperature are Linked to Landscaping