What is “yardening,” you ask…

Dear Reader,

We met the most wonderful person at a local plant and garden show.  In a sea of gmo flowers, chemically-enhanced mulch, and every lawn and garden ornament imaginable, this happy soul was promoting what she calls “yardening.”  We were forced to approach her stand to stop our boys from attacking the happy tadpoles she had on display; finally, their shenanigans have led to a positive outcome!  She is an educator of children by trade, so she has a natural aptitude for enthusiastic and charming sharing of information.  What she told us is so simple and so wonderful, I now want to share it with you.

In a nutshell, her philosophy is the less grass, the better.  She asks, “If we were forced to grow massive selections of one plant that produces no flowers, no fruit, just one color, has to be carefully tended, wastefully watered, fed, cut and trimmed, would we do so willingly?”  Of course not, right?  And yet, how many weekends have been ruined by walking back and forth behind a noisy machine, with no reward but the knowledge that the whole, thankless exercise will have to be repeated in a week’s time?  And how about the money wasted on bags and bags of grass seed and icky fertilizers and weed-killers to try and allow the grass to rule supreme?  Our yard is a gorgeous purple carpet in spring because of the violets that take over when we don’t fight them.  But we continue the fruitless (literally!) war while the farmer’s market calls, enjoyable work in a productive garden appeals, trips to the park beckon, visits with family and friends await, and much-needed rest is so close and yet so far — all because the stupid grass has to be mowed.  Well, the grass isn’t stupid, but allowing it to run our lives is.

Our new friend took a year’s sabbatical to turn her yard into a beautiful wildlife preserve.  She has invited our family to visit, and we can’t wait!  I look forward to much inspiration and many new ideas for our own project.  I will take pictures and tell you all about it.

JMW

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