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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog (or to anyone who knows me at all) that I basically DESPISE lawns. While I admit that a swath of low-growing green is restful to the eye, especially given my (perhaps excessively) unrestrained gardening style, turfgrass has almost nothing going for it. It requires constant maintenance, generally with noisy, petroleum-guzzling, fume-spewing equipment, and frequent applications of water and fertilizer if it is to have any hope of remaining a restful (?) greensward in our Mid-Ohio Valley summers.

So--I am in the process of killing most of what remains of the lawn. The current plan is to keep a small patch of the front yard in mowed turfgrass to set off the more interesting plantings, but the rest will eventually be gone. Luckily, the back yard is attempting to revert to the Great Eastern Forest on its own, given the lack of success I have thus far had at creating a clover lawn out back. The clover did fine for months, but the late-June heat wave did in the transplanted patch, though the original clover that has taken over from the scraggly fescue has come back. The front yard, however, had--the dreaded Bermuda grass.

This is not the place to go on about how much I hate Bermuda grass, and why, but a sense of the depth of my feelings for this plant can be inferred from the fact that I covered one entire side of the front yard with black plastic and then buried it under several cubic yards of shredded hardwood in an attempt to convince the Bermuda to die. Most of it has.

That side of the yard is slated to become a "savannah garden," a mini-grassland with a few short trees interspersed with the grasses and forbs. There are not yet pictures of all the plantings that have gone in, but here are a few teasers:

Facing the neighbor, eupatorium rugosum "Chocolate" fronting a serviceberry. A hedge of native switchgrass will eventually form a screen near the property line.

Fronting the street, a selection of flowering perennials, mostly native cultivars.

The big picture, facing the guest room

More plantings have gone in, so stay tuned for pictures after the muhly grass blooms.


Jay Miller said...

I never got the grass thing either. Some people use an low ivy as a lawn.

Martha said...

Thanks for sharing your latest gardening efforts. The results are beautiful!
Perhaps your garden should be on the Garden Tour some year!

Rebecca said...

Jay, English ivy has begun to invade our native woodlands, so it's not the best plant to use here, gorgeous as it can be. We've got a thyme walk (not native, but so far not invasive) going in front of our most conventional planting area. I've fallen in love with all the tiny leaves and blossoms, but it does draw bees, so walking barefoot is out!