Thinking Outside the Lawn

My native plant garden has been paused for the moment due to summer travel, extreme heat in Oregon, and a knee injury that needs to heal.  Sadly, several of the plants I had purchased for this project perished from the 110-114 degree temps we had earlier in July before they could be planted.

The one thing that is currently dying, I am happy to say,  is the small section of lawn which is phase one of my garden.  Lawns are not compatible with the notion of nature, biodiversity, and conservation. A green lawn is a water-thirsty beast that is an ecological desert to birds pollinators, and micro-organisms providing no food or cover.  Add to that, many people throw on a cocktail of chemicals to keep them unnaturally green and weed-free.  These same chemicals poison groundwater and the pets and children that play on them.  Then there are gas lawnmowers that spew out pollutants when the lawn needs to be mowed

Why do we even have lawns?  They were the envy of wealthy estate owners in England and the sign of socio-economics.  Before the late 1800s, most houses had at most a flower or vegetable garden in the front yard.  With the advent of piped water, the lawnmower and imported grass seed, lawns became the gold standard of homeownership and now kind of an obsession- an outdated one. A patch of lawn can be nice but keep it natural.  A dandelion here and there at least can feed some bees!

Rather than use carcinogenic glyphosate (Roundup)  to kill my lawn I’ve applied a thin layer of chicken manure and then covered the area with cardboard.  It takes about 6 weeks.  My lawn should be dead about now.  The next step is to move the cardboard over to another section of lawn and repeat the process.  I’ll be ordering a couple of yards of sterilized topsoil to form into beds for the first area.  Then the fun begins- buying the plants and putting them into their new home.

My lovely cardboard lawn


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