(No,not that one.)
Last spring as the surviving blades of the previous year’s skimpy lawn began emerging, I decided on a different approach to lawn maintenance with a new motto: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
The weeds I’ve always sneered at and sweared at are really not all that bad. Like you and me, they’re simply struggling to survive against the elements and the bad reputations created by the lawn care outfits and herbicide sellers.
Clover, for instance, is not our enemy. Unlike some of our persnickety grasses, it’s drought resistant and loved by the endangered honey bees as a great source for pollenization. It’s also a soil conditioner, adding to the lawn’s health rather than requiring expensive fertilization.
Dandelions are highly nutritious, full of vitamins and antioxidants. Tea is made from their roots and wine from their petals. Other misnamed “weeds” at least produce attractive flowers.
I sent a mixed variety order to a specialty seed company. In addition to clover and dandelion seeds I went for color and yellow-flowered purslane. I was tempted to include flowerly oxalis, but some versions grow very tall and might deprive other plants, and even neighborhoods, of sunlight.
Moneywort (AKA Creeping Jenny), a vigorous green ground cover, looked attractive in the catalog pictures. It might have gotten too vigorous and covered the neighborhood’s lawns, sidewalks and driveways and an occasional sleeping cat. So I minimized the order.
Just a few weeks after planting, my lawn was a real attention-grabber and almost trouble-free. Except for an occasional threatening phone call, I was a happy planter with an attractive lawn that was no longer a source of mower and blower ear-splitting noise and pollution.
However, I began to detect trouble in early July. While harvesting dandelion petals for my wine-making project, I discovered an invasive plant had already made serious inroads into my young experimental frontyard garden.
Close inspection confirmed my worst fears. An uninvited Kentucky Bluegrass variety was pushing aside Creeping Jenny and threatening my clover. By mid-August, there were six varieties of bluegrass running rampant in my yard with its unattractive, skinny green blades displacing the graceful bouquets of my weed flowers.
The blue grass had to go, of course, but then what?. I didn’t want to see my beloved wild crops obliterated by an obtrusive plant. Who knew what might have popped up next and tried to take over? Maybe potatoes, marigolds or even palm trees!
I found possible solutions in the back pages of my offbeat seed catalog with last ditch suggestions for embattled weed farmers. Astroweeds, of course, would be a trouble-free “crop” immune to the intrusions of Kentucky blues and other expensive riff-raff. But there’s something revolutionary out there that might capture the adventurous lawnkeeper’s attention.
Holographic projections of objects, places and, who knows, lawns? may soon be available to desperate gardeners. A simple click of the button before your guests arrive will project beautiful lawns, flower gardens and even dramatic fountains in your fifth of an acre estate. Weeds and Kentucky Blue will no longer be your enemy. You will fear only power failures.