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Thread: Lawn care undergoing changes to meadows

  1. #1
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Lawn care undergoing changes to meadows

    I find this funny and interesting. Europe in past centuries developed this model of perfect lawns for the wealthy which was adopted by the masses over the years. There has been resistance to the carefully manicured model by any number over the past decades including me. Covid has now impacted the longstanding view of perfect lawns by the furloughs of lawn workers in the UK.

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...CMP=GTUK_email

    "They were once a status symbol for the rich, and later the pride and joy of suburbia. But the immaculately striped, tightly mown lawn is becoming an endangered species.

    Monty Don this week called time on the predominantly male, British “obsession” with a tidy lawn, arguing that fossil-fuel-powered mowing was noisy and “about the most injurious thing you can do to wildlife”.

    As gardeners turn lawns into wildflower meadows, or take the eco-conservation charity Plantlife’s increasingly popular #NoMowMay pledge, so stately homes, parks and playing fields are ditching traditional mowing regimes and allowing wildflowers to flourish.

    Even the quads of Oxbridge colleges, regarded by traditionalists as home to some of the finest lawns in the world, are dabbling with rewilding. King’s College, Cambridge last year turned the lawn beside its chapel into a meadow...

    Don’s comments were “music to our ears”, said Trevor Dines, of Plantlife, which urges people to pause mowing lawns in May to allow daisies, bird’s-foot trefoil and dandelions to flower in the grass.

    Those taking part in the charity’s Every Flower Counts survey have identified 207 species of flowering plant in lawns, including bee orchids, meadow saxifrage and eyebright. Plantlife calculates that one square metre of lawn left to flower supplies enough nectar to sustain on average 3.8 bees a day.

    Dines said Plantlife had been inundated with local authorities and others such as hospital trusts seeking to maximise flower and nectar production on parklands and green spaces.

    “It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Dines. “You’re cutting down on your petrol costs, CO2 emissions and the time it takes to do the work, and it’s a massive benefit for wildlife.”

    Last spring’s lockdown led to the inadvertent wilding of stately home lawns. The furloughing of gardeners meant the National Trust had to trial wilding in some of its 250 formal gardens and parks."

    I chuckle at my neighbour who irrigates a large urban lot every other day, mows every third day, edges every couple of weeks, blows every mowing, rolls the lawn, sprinkles fertilizer and sprays weed control with mostly gas-powered tools taking up half his 2-car garage.

    I mow every 3-4 weeks my limited grass filled with micro-clover although I will work to clear out the patches of crabgrass emerging alongside the roadway this spring.
    I am not sure about creating a meadow though. The snowplow digs up the areas turning into crabgrass so that might be a possibility but I don't want to drive the neighbours nuts.
    Anyone switching to meadow?
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Anyone switching to meadow?
    Boy, I would love to. As I've posted before, my 8 neighbors are all old school lawn folks. We have an acre of frontage (common land) on the lake and they act like vegetation is a plague. Out they go with their mowers and just shave it all down, so there is no buffer between the lake and the lawn.

    Here's an interesting thing. One of my neighbors HATES the geese because they crap all over our lawn. So she buys little "scarecrow" devices to keep them away.

    A couple of years ago the neighbors weren't paying attention and there was a nice buffer of tall grasses and vegetation lining the lake. One of the neighbors on our far end decided to mow his part of it down to the nub. I was looking out my window, and lo and behold, a parade of geese were marching around the grasses over the now-shorn area and feeding off our lawn--probably 25 geese.

    Unfortunately my geese-hating neighbor was not there (this was early spring) so I didn't have that "teachable moment" to share with her.

    Not only do they think meadows and grass buffers are bad, they do not believe in the 3" rule for mowing.

    This is my fourth year here. I still feel like I'm the Newcomer From New Jersey, but I do think I have a good enough relationship with them now to be able speak gently with them about why it would be good to keep those grasses at least down by the lake. I'm sure I'll be outvoted, but I can try. At one point, I went on the previous owner of my house's FB page--she and her husband were REAL permaculture types, and she had a post like "couldn't we keep at least part of the lawn unmown? Think of all the wildlife we'll protect." It obviously fell on deaf ears, and their reputation among my neighbors is that they were "weird" and did "weird things"-probably meaning organic gardening and stuff.

    Oh, well. It's hard enough to try to convince DH about some of these sustainable practices, never mind these folks who lived here for generations.
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    Senior Member Yppej's Avatar
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    I got rid of my lawn years ago. I have a small vegetable garden, ground cover (primarily blue rug juniper) and perennial flowers (primarily phlox). My soil is acidic. What plants work best for others will vary. Each year when the phlox bloom I get many compliments on my yard, and sometimes people even stop to take pictures of it.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I remain adamant that I like a strip of green grass to set off flower gardens. I don’t need a big strip, but I do want some lawn.

    However our acre in Hermann was purchased so that we could farm it so it will not go to wild Meadow.

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    The obsession with lawn seems to now be in our DNA. The retired men on my street literally spend hours every week mowing, blowing, and spraying their edge to edge lawns. It will be interesting to see if they comply with watering restrictions set to issue fines this spring if not observed. I do have a little side yard in front where cars used to park that I intend to "prairie-ize" mostly as I need a place to plant all the native seedlings I have going inside. Excited to try it anyway since I have spent the past year learning what things might do well in that spot.

  6. #6
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    The obsession with lawn seems to now be in our DNA. The retired men on my street literally spend hours every week mowing, blowing, and spraying their edge to edge lawns. It will be interesting to see if they comply with watering restrictions set to issue fines this spring if not observed. I do have a little side yard in front where cars used to park that I intend to "prairie-ize" mostly as I need a place to plant all the native seedlings I have going inside. Excited to try it anyway since I have spent the past year learning what things might do well in that spot.
    Why do you like “natives? “

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I have a mullet yard- boring typical grass near the street/front of house. Wild abandon with flowers and other plants on the side and a new-last-year meadow in the back. I live in a rural area on a dirt road with a stonewall across the front, ie not in a competitive lawn area. Though we have occasional transplants from the suburbs who spend hours on their lawn. The only thing that bothers me about that is the chemicals they put on the lawn, since we all have wells and common aquifers.

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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    I read an article recently about the severe decrease in the Florida manatee population. It's so sad. If runoff doesn't kill them, boat propellers and dam locks do.

    https://www.planetnatural.com/fertilizer-runoff/
    Answers to these kinds of questions are never simple but it appears that the area’s sea grasses — food for the manatees and the breeding grounds of many species of fish, are being overwhelmed by algae blooms. Why? Because of too much nitrogen and phosphorous coming into the water, much of it from fertilizer run off. Why is there so much fertilizer? Because the Indian River has seen an explosion of development, which means tens of thousands of fertilized lawns. Runoff from these lawns goes into storm sewers and, untreated, goes into the River. The process, repeated over many years, has pushed the Indian River to the tipping point. The New York Times has more on the story.

    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I have ground cover in the front, forest in the back, and weeds along the sides. My neighbors will be as happy when I leave as I will.

    I abhor more than a tiny patch of lawn the size of a badminton court. So much foolish, unnecessary labor (noise, pollution) involved.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    I've thought about it on and off for years. Never acted on it because it takes 3-4 years to establish here and we were still discussing if we were staying in this house (we are now).

    Ours would be in the back, by the fence and on a patch of lawn behind the detached garage that some people use as a garden plot and others use as a boat/camper storage pad (we have grass). I would want some lawn because a three-bedroom rambler is made for kids and kids and their parents will want a grassy area to play in.

    Maybe now that this year I'll be more tied to the house it's a good year to get started on it. The neighbors would have to be informed because that part of the lawn will look like cr&p for a few years (uninformed neighbors complain to the city and then there's all kinds of paperwork) but I think mine would be fine with it. Just have to get myself in gear to do it....
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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