For starters, because their obnoxious and noxious
April 28, 2003 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Why Mow? Indeed. Give me wildflowers and trees any day.
posted by tr33hggr (68 comments total)
My mum did practically nothing to our garden, and it became a haven for squirrels, birds and the occasional hedgehog. Big as cats those squirrels were. The neighbours didn't like it.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:54 AM on April 28, 2003

squirrels, birds, and hedgehogs are fine by me.
posted by destro at 11:57 AM on April 28, 2003

When I lived at a place where I was expected to mow, I decided one summer to just let it go. After a month and a half, I had wildflowers and wonderful fragrant grasses. Finally one of the neighbors asked when I would be taking care of my yard, because it was "attracting animals."
posted by tr33hggr at 11:59 AM on April 28, 2003

Good lord. If I ever let this happen i would explode with allergies in the spring, summer and fall. Screw that. I'd rather pave the damn lawn. Rent it out for parking
posted by Riptor at 12:12 PM on April 28, 2003

We're letting our back yard naturalize, with some, ah, active influencing along the way. By "active influence" I mean many planted trees that will be protected until they're older and hardier, several pounds of native wildflower seeds, a few hundred daffodil bulbs, fifty daylilies, ditto scilla siberica and crocus, and various other "ignorable" plants like rudbeckia, coneflower, ferns, hostas, and prairie grasses. Lettin' the grass grow as it will throughout the whole area, and we are not weeding or collecting the tons upon tons of oak leaves that fall.

We plan to add bulbs every so often but otherwise stay hands-off, and channel all that energy into the FRONT garden, which will more than absorb it.

Oh, and if you're in the midwest and into this sort of thing, check out the Great River Greening and the Friends of the Mississippi River sites for nifty volunteer opportunities helping to support ecosystem restoration and plant diversity projects.
posted by clever sheep at 12:15 PM on April 28, 2003

Oh, and a postscript: our front yard would look just like our back yard if I had my say. But relationships are all about compromise, yadda yadda....
posted by clever sheep at 12:18 PM on April 28, 2003

My mum did practically nothing to our garden, and it became a haven for squirrels, birds and the occasional hedgehog. Big as cats those squirrels were. The neighbours didn't like it.

That's exactly what I try to accomplish. So far: Squirrels (my little friend "Scruffy" actually ran right up to me the other day!), chipmunks, ducks, moles, cute little grey mice, a groundhog, birds of all sorts singing all day, skunks and raccoons and a possum at night (and they rarely stink the place up; in fact, I've walked around in the midst of the skunks, and they couldn't care less as long as I move slowly...), occasionally a hawk or two (you should hear the birds screeching warnings to each other when the hawks come to hunt!), a wild turkey (but only 2 visits so far), muskrats (actually they went downstream when the creek dried up last summer, but they were great fun to watch; little beavers is what they are, even chewing down the occasional creekside sapling), etc... Oh, yeah: there was a snake, too, but I relocated him (gently) so he wouldn't eat the smaller mammals.

All this in a suburban back yard that's not particularly overgrown--just some wildflowers and a couple of brush piles.

The animals are great! They don't hurt anything, and they're way more fun to watch than TV.
posted by Shane at 12:18 PM on April 28, 2003

Pollard writes good stuff. I'm in the middle of his Botany of Desire, and am enjoying it immensely.

A month ago, I did just as Pollard advocates and tore up a section of my (rental) lawn to put in a garden. It's wonderful how many people will stop and chat while I'm out there puttering around. I've always noticed how folks in the inner-city, where I live, nearly always fence in their yards. I guess it's like that old joke about academia, about how the battles are so fierce because the stakes are so low. At any rate, I've met neighbors I might've not had the chance to meet. And I haven't even started sharing the vegetables yet.

My ex-wife lives in a fairly standard inner-suburb area, next to a retiree with a perfectly-manicured lawn. She put in a front-yard garden, with lots of bird-attracting plants, much to the neighbor's chagrin. It does, indeed, attract animals--I've seen foxes there, as well as 5 different kinds of woodpecker. And the birds poop on the neighbor's car, which is fitting since he always yells at my daughter to stay off his grass.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:22 PM on April 28, 2003

err, make that Pollan. Dang.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:24 PM on April 28, 2003

An element of wildness is very good in a garden. It's nice to have bees and butterflies and huge trees and things there. :) (My willow tree used to be absolutely enormous - far taller than my house - but it has been pruned rather drastically because it was starting to interfere with the TV reception. In a year or so, it will be glorious once more).
posted by plep at 12:29 PM on April 28, 2003

Here's an earlier post on an article Pollan wrote on the "cornification" of our food supply.
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on April 28, 2003

Oh, I should add:

For my cats, this really is their TV. My cats line up at the (glass) back door for hours to watch the squirrels and birds eat on the back porch. Two of the cats make squeaking noises, trying to "talk" to the visitors outside. My dog doesn't bother to chase squirrels anymore when I let her out, and most of the squirrels don't bother to run away.

The squirrels and birds are part of the family now...
posted by Shane at 12:33 PM on April 28, 2003

My lawn's winning. The crabgrass preventing fertilizer I put down last week appears to have encouraged the crabgrass to grow even faster. Crabgrass sucks.
posted by piper28 at 12:35 PM on April 28, 2003

Why mow?

Why wear khaki pants and drive an SUV?
posted by the fire you left me at 12:35 PM on April 28, 2003

why anthing?
posted by Postroad at 12:46 PM on April 28, 2003

Hey, I like khaki pants! Not all hot like denim. No SUV, though, I promise.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:48 PM on April 28, 2003

God, you people are deep.

I mean that in a completely admiring, non-snarky way, too. Really.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:50 PM on April 28, 2003

Two of the cats make squeaking noises, trying to "talk" to the visitors outside.

"Come closer! Let me eat you!"
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:52 PM on April 28, 2003

Why mow?

Because I'll get sued if I don't.
posted by Cerebus at 12:53 PM on April 28, 2003

Call me square....I want a lawn, khakis and an SUV.
posted by Durwood at 1:16 PM on April 28, 2003

I'm currently battling moles. Squirrels, turkeys, racoons, fox, hornets, snakes, rabbits, birds, and yes, even deer, are all welcome in my yard. But the moles have got to go!!
posted by archimago at 1:19 PM on April 28, 2003

"Come closer! Let me eat you!"
Ehh, I'm trying to give the cats the benefit of the doubt. It's a weird noise, though : )

posted by Shane at 1:19 PM on April 28, 2003

my historical district neighborhood gestapo would be pretty pissed if i had 'wildflowers' growing in my yard
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 1:20 PM on April 28, 2003

and we are not weeding or collecting the tons upon tons of oak leaves that fall.

Speaking as someone who has a lot of oaks on his property, that'll guarantee that nothing much will grow in your yard besides ferns, creeping charlie, and more oaks.
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:21 PM on April 28, 2003

I rarely tend my back yard, mainly due to laziness. The incredible fecundity of the earth in California makes it easy to have wild things living in my yard, and I love it. From wild roses to wild flowers, it really is pretty, if not orderly.

AND I have living in and/or frequently visiting my backyard: a wild bunny, all kinds of avian life (from hummingbirds to red-tailed hawks), a skunk who seems to have made friends with my cat, tons of rodents for the cat and the raptors, and the occasional rutting raccoons. If you think cats in heat are a show ... you ain't seen nothing. Raccoons are horny buggers that put cats to shame.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:25 PM on April 28, 2003

"Come closer! Let me eat you!"
Ehh, I'm trying to give the cats the benefit of the doubt. It's a weird noise, though : )

I guess I was speaking for our cat who, while sweet as a boysenberry pie, is also as black hearted as one. I know the noise you're talking about, and when she makes it at the birds outside it means only one thing...

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:25 PM on April 28, 2003

Good idea, wildflowers and native grasses. We don't have a climate conducive to grass for the mostpart, so it beats me why I should try to grow it. I don't water, so it turns yellow quite often.

My dogs would love a vegetable garden. Nuff said; I won't plant one.

The idea of wildflowers here and there is intriguing though. Hopefully they are hardier than thistle and crabgrass.
posted by Mondo at 1:26 PM on April 28, 2003

My lawn's winning. The crabgrass preventing fertilizer I put down last week appears to have encouraged the crabgrass to grow even faster. Crabgrass sucks.
posted by piper28 at 12:35 PM PST on April 28

If I understand how most weedkillers work, then it is working as designed. Most weedkillers grow them to death, so to speak, they should start dying soon.

Anyway, it takes him 4 hours to cut his yard? Time for a lawn tractor... It must be 2 acres at least.
posted by internal at 1:28 PM on April 28, 2003

I think Umberto Eco had a book about lawns. And Disney and other things, but I distinctly recall lawns as being one of his peeves.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:35 PM on April 28, 2003

Why mow? Because the city will ticket us if we don't. I'm not much of a gardener, anyway, so whatever wild flowers and trees pop up, I let 'em grow. With my black thumb, I can't plant anything prettier than Queen Ann's Lace or violets, anyway.

Our squirrels are a hoot. Our neighbor has a mini farm in back of his garage, complete with cornstalks. He's forever trying to devise a system of keeping the squirrels away from his crops. Right now he's got aluminum pie tins hanging from strings. Supposedly the noise when they blow in the in wind will frighten the little furry guys. Of course, these are suburban squirrels who hear garbage trucks, lawn mowers and other assorted sounds all day, so I don't think the pie tins are going to do anything.

In the meantime, our lawn is littered with corn cobs; the squirrels have learned to quickly nab an ear from Chester's little farm, then scoot over to our yard to enjoy their feast.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:43 PM on April 28, 2003

An element of wildness is very good in a garden.
Part of my back yard is a greenbelt which is great. One of the few features I enjoy in Dallas, Tx.

Question, noticed folks in Europe say garden for their front yards even if it was just grass? Did I hear that right.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:51 PM on April 28, 2003

I decided I'm sick of my lawn so I spent the weekend tearing it up and replacing it with a rock garden full of red stones from Southern Utah. The wildflowers and cattails will grow freely in the back.
posted by pandaharma at 1:57 PM on April 28, 2003!!!

*grabs axe, gazes red-eyed at woods behind house*

Seriously, you let that shit grow unfettered, you'll be ass-deep in bugs.
posted by UncleFes at 2:03 PM on April 28, 2003

I am not a big fan of the lawn. What mowed area that I keep will always be filled with flowering weeds such as henbit, dandelions and wild violets. I certainly would not put anything down to make the lawn less diverse than it already is. The one and only thing I try to keep eliminated is the non-native monster that is Johnson grass.

I am slowly but steadily eliminating most of my mowed lawn, but I only have a couple of acres and such a love of plants and playing in the dirt that only a small area of my yard will be allowed to grow wild with some wildflower seed tossed about. The rest of the plantings are certainly not spaced and meticulously maintained though, as I tend to plant things close enough that they grow together and create massive areas of contrasting foliage, bloom and winter character. Specimen planting or formal-looking beds do not interest me.

I am slowly planting the front yard full of perennials, trees, bulbs, shrubs, grasses and other ornamentals, many of which are planted to attract specific types of butterflies, birds or other critters. I am going for plants that produce berries and other food sources for fall and winter and also for things which provide shelter. I currently have a young ‘Fat Albert’ blue spruce which has a robin nest and four bright blue eggs sitting amongst the branches, and mockingbirds have found that they like my gardens as well and they tend to hang around when I am working outside in the hopes that I will find a grub to toss them. It has reached the point where they will land a couple of feet from me to eat and then wait for another gift.

Opossums frequently visit and unfortunately skunks do as well, I recently spent a day bathing my dog in tomato juice as a result. We have a large population of squirrels which I can watch every morning and evening, running and playing, going up and down our massive oak tree. Raccoons are occasionally seen, although not often in the middle of town. I have constructed housing for bats and owls and intend to add additional houses for purple martins and maybe other birds as well.

The front yard will remain much tidier than the rest, in order to keep everyone at least somewhat happy, and it also allows for some more formal things such as a bed of hybrid roses, which would look out of character in my back yard. A lot of my front yard will be morphing over the years as I have planted many trees which will someday grow together and sun-loving perennials will have to be slowly relocated to make way for additional hostas, violets, ferns and other shade plants. The front gardens have had more attention than the rest so far, partially because I am visited frequently by neighborhood dogs and joggers/walkers as well. I enjoy the smiling dogs running in circles around me and the compliments thrown about by the random passersby as well.

I am currently trying to determine if the neighborhood’s “rules” permit bodies of water other than in-ground pools, and if they do I am going to build a small pond with a waterfall cascading down the hillside and into a much larger pond which will most likely be designed with Koi in mind, although I am likely to stock it with goldfish or other cheaper fishes instead in the event that herons and other birds choose to visit.

I would like to plant climbing vines all over my chain link fence, but I can only do this on the front of the property as the neighbors tend to spray their fence lines with roundup and I would rather not argue with them on that point. I briefly considered offering to keep the outside of my fence clean via the weed eater, but I figured if I ever was unable to do it, the neighbors would just go out there and spray a herbicide, thus making my efforts pointless.

When I moved into this place there was a large sycamore tree in the front yard, a small redbud behind it and an overgrown hedge of yew which had to be removed. The back included the most beautiful oak tree that I have ever seen, over sixty feet tall and around forty feet wide with a perfect shape and a 2 ½ foot diameter trunk, a wild cherry that is around 45 feet tall, and two white dogwood trees which were unfortunately planted right next to the house and will need to be cut down one of these days.

That is all. There were a handful of flowering plants which I kept, but moved to other places. I have planted 34 trees so far and at least 500 types of perennials and shrubs, some of which have been in for a few seasons and are being divided or allowed to self-sow and produce more plants for me to enjoy.

I built a raised bed for cold-hardy cacti and succulents and have started an area in the middle of my yard for natives such as smooth sumac, Asclepias tuberosa (orange butterfly weed) and other plants which can (or could) be found growing in the wilds of the Ozarks.

I have started bamboo groves, which will have to be limited in size due to space limitations, but I could not resist planting the ‘boo anyway. Included so far are Phyllostachys vivax, Phyllostachys nigra (aka black bamboo), Phyllostachys pubescens (aka Moso, a timber-type hardy to around 0 degrees Fahrenheit), Sasa palmata (palm bamboo), and of course the aggressive and all-too-common Phyllostachys aurea (Golden Bamboo). I am looking forward to adding more bamboo in the future, particularly some Fargesias (clumping bamboo – the others mentioned are runners and can spread aggressively) and smaller groundcover types.

I also have quite a number of tropical plants that I must dig up in the fall and replant the following spring, cannas, Colocaisas (elephant ears), dahlias and other similar plants. I have started some cold-hardy palm trees inside which will probably be planted in one year after they have been well established in their pots and are more likely to take to the outdoors. I will begin to harden them off this coming winter by keeping them outside on chilly nights and bringing them in on the really cold nights. They will most likely be planted in the same area as my cacti and succulents or around the bamboo groves, as all of these plants look somewhat out of place in an Ozark landscape.

One major problem is that this relatively nice neighborhood in the middle of town has septic tanks, although the sewer system surrounds the area on all sides. Because of the septic lines, I have to be careful what I plant over a fairly large area of ground. I am thinking that this might be the perfect place for a privacy fence and a wildflower garden (fence to keep the neighborhood from screaming “snake den” when they see the never-mowed area.

So far the only snakes that have visited are the small garden snakes, but I frequently see frogs in my gardens and hope that the frogs and turtles will come in droves if I build a pond. One thing I miss about living outside of town was the frog songs that could be heard every summer night.

Of course I have a edible garden as well….blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, cantaloupes, watermelons, strawberries, asparagus, concord grapes and lots of other stuff. Sometimes I have trouble eating anything for the squirrels and birds.

As for the cat squeak, I presume you folks are referring to the little noise they make when they get all excited, quivering like they are freezing to death? That always cracks me up. It is as though the excitement is eating them up. One of my cats is extremely bad about doing this inside but if I let her outside and she sees a bird or squirrel, she doesn’t act interested at all. Cats are such odd little creatures.
posted by bargle at 2:08 PM on April 28, 2003

Er....that was kinda long and rambly. *blinks*
posted by bargle at 2:09 PM on April 28, 2003

*pulls out flame thrower*
[sings] "Oh dandelion, oh dandelion"
*spots weed*
"Hello dandelion!"
*sizzle sizzle*

I just love that commercial.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:18 PM on April 28, 2003

Ehh, I'm trying to give the cats the benefit of the doubt. It's a weird noise, though : )

My cats do some kind of weird 'chattering' as best as I can describe it. Mostly when the birds or squirrels get to close.

Benefit of the doubt or not, I end up with presents on the patio whenever a cat gets out.

Wild kingdom...and I'll have to do is not mow my lawn you say?
posted by mnology at 2:36 PM on April 28, 2003

Damned people with gardens. *Grumble, whinge, mither*

Yes, we call front lawns gardens even if they're just lawns. Well we do in Britain anyway, can't speak for the barbarians across the moat.

My cat used to make those noises. Killing almost always ensued. Bless.
posted by squealy at 3:00 PM on April 28, 2003

In the unlikely event that I ever give up downtown life and move out to some suburby place where houses come in their own buildings and have unpaved land around them, there is no way I will maintain a flat green lawn. I'm just too lazy for that. So I plan to make virtue of inevitability by pouring pounds of wildflower seed all over the place and calling it a private nature reserve...

My cats do some kind of weird 'chattering' as best as I can describe it. Mostly when the birds or squirrels get to close.

My wife's cat does that. He sits in the window and stares intently at the seagulls across the alley. Until he evolves himself a set of opposable thumbs and figures out how to use climbing gear, though, there's no way he's getting anywhere close.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:31 PM on April 28, 2003

I miss having a garden, but the alternative is a two hour commute, and there are a couple of amazing parks nearby.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:35 PM on April 28, 2003

Yeah, don't mow. Wait until you get a copperhead or a rattlesnake. That will show you why you should mow.
posted by nyxxxx at 4:23 PM on April 28, 2003

Cats "chattering" when they see birds or squirrels through the window is actually a very precise and instinctual movement - it is exactly the action they use to sever the spinal cord of their prey. As much as I like the dominance of my fur buddies in my daily routine, it is nearly impossible to forget that they are predators, foremost.

Oh - and I am a member of the anti estate lawn party. If you play bocci or croquet, a grass court is justified... otherwise a lawn is very similar to the sacrificial "living room" in many middle class 'merican houses. Unused, overmanicured, and mostly for show....
posted by vers at 4:35 PM on April 28, 2003

Another thing to consider-- most homes are on unstablized floating slab foundations. If you don't happen to be on stable, non-expansive soil, you should know that failure to water the foundation regularly (a functional equivalent to "I don't want to mow any more" is "I don't like any lawn care, including watering the damn thing," a point which this thread nicely highlights) will result in eventual cracking and massive repair bills. Repairing such a beast entails trenching the house and installing pylons rammed deep into the earth to prevent further movement, at a cost of multiple thousands of dollars.

Those of you who live in houses with pier-and-beam foundations, count your blessings. Those of you who live in houses with basements, consider how much worse it could be the next time you're down there cleaning up seepage. The rest of us need to be careful...
posted by Cerebus at 4:42 PM on April 28, 2003

I've never understood the watering thing. Granted I live in the zombie zone of Indiana where the four seasons are slush, mud, humidity and beauty but grass is supposed to turn brown in response to the dry season.

We actually use a push-reel mower that keeps our small yard beaten back to a tolerable level. It is nice to actually be able to have a conversation while you mow.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:40 PM on April 28, 2003

Push-reel mowers rock. And they're better for the grass, too, as the cut instead of shredding.

Cats are hell on the environment. I believe we've had that as a MeFi discussion before. It was a hostile argument. But it doesn't take much effort to hit the net and dig up your own facts which should, in most cases, make it pretty damn clear that cats should be inside the house.

I don't understand why lawns aren't in clover or morning glory or some other low-creeping plant that never requires cutting. Hell, why hasn't someone bred 1.5" grass? There really should be no need for lawnmowers.

Water your lawn at night. You're otherwise just pissing it away, because most of it will evaporate long before it gets to the grass roots.

It'd be nice if people would get a bit more sane about the chemicals and shit they use. Having a green lawn isn't worth the environmental damage that a lot of those products cause. Short-term prettiness for long-term harm. Ugh.

And in case I forgot to say it, push-reel mowers rock.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:33 PM on April 28, 2003

a) I love my garden, including the squirrels.
b) bargle, you are completely insane.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:56 PM on April 28, 2003

Choice quote: Lawns are nature purged of sex or death. No wonder Americans like them so much.
posted by LimePi at 7:48 PM on April 28, 2003

Cats are hell on the environment. I believe we've had that as a MeFi discussion before.

That might have been the Flo Control thread.
posted by homunculus at 7:56 PM on April 28, 2003

I recently bought a house and was thinking of how to decorate my yard. My favorite idea was to dig up the entire front lawn and replace it with a 10 foot deep ball pit, like you would find at Chuck E. Cheese's.

The cost and fear of things being buried in it has me a bit leery.
posted by the biscuit man at 7:58 PM on April 28, 2003

Nice essay. It brought to mind Andrew Marvell's poetry concerning gardens and the human desire to dominate Nature, which I haven't read since school. Here's the beginning of Marvell's rather appropriate The Mower against Gardens penned in the 1600s:

LUXURIOUS man, to bring his vice in use,
Did after him the world seduce,
And from the fields the flowers and plants allure,
Where Nature was most plain and pure.
He first inclosed within the gardens square
A dead and standing pool of air,
And a more luscious earth for them did knead,
Which stupefied them while it fed.
The pink grew then as double as his mind ;
The nutriment did change the kind.
posted by Onanist at 7:59 PM on April 28, 2003

"Man has a tropism for order. Keys in one pocket, change in another. Mandolins are tuned G D A E. The physical world has a tropism for disorder, entropy. Man against Nature...the battle of the centuries. Keys yearn to mix with change. Mandolins strive to get out of tune. Every order has within it the germ of destruction. All order is doomed, yet the battle is worth while."
--Nathaniel West
posted by madamjujujive at 10:30 PM on April 28, 2003

Question, noticed folks in Europe say garden for their front yards even if it was just grass? Did I hear that right.

Yes, I think so - I've noticed 'yards' tends to be used a lot more in the States. My theory is it may have to do with there being a lot less living space to go round in the UK as opposed to North America (I believe that the UK is a touch smaller than Michigan, with a population of around 60 million), so quarter- or half-acre lots are pretty rare (and expensive!). It's all a matter of scale.
posted by plep at 11:34 PM on April 28, 2003

I hate mowing, it is the most useless and pointless activity I can imagine. I especially can't imagine that they diverted an entire river so that LA could have green grass where it wasn't supposed to grow?

Men, machines, sweat, chemicals and a multi-billion dollar industry. Bah. Some ancient plain dweller memories that forces us to cultivate lawns... count me out.

I know that it's spring because I get the annual TruChem, or GreenLawn (or, whatever), who politely invites me to have a "lawn consultation"with them. I continue to ask "do you have anything that kills grass or, at least retards its growth." Which, I've found, gets them off the line faster than asking to be placed on the "do not call" list. Imagine, we can selectively kill unwanted greenery, while simultaneously enhancing wanted greenery? And they won't husband a grass breed that will only grow to 2 inches?

What do you do? Astroturf? No, you have to sweep it and such... Pave it and paint it green? No, that would cost a fortune and eventually be overcome by grass anyway. Spray some evil and let it go to dirt? No, that causes erosion and one helluva mess.

Clover, that's the answer. Has a uniform height, looks great, nice color, etc... Now, how do you keep the damn grass out of it?
posted by Dean_Paxton at 11:40 PM on April 28, 2003

Wow...I wish I had a lawn to not mow.
posted by Poagao at 12:41 AM on April 29, 2003

Why mow?

Why, to play croquet silly!
posted by tommyspoon at 3:31 AM on April 29, 2003

Wow, thanks for the great discussion. This was my first FPP, and I was pretty nervous about it, but you all made it painless and wonderful!

squeals, claps hands!
posted by tr33hggr at 4:45 AM on April 29, 2003

I'm currently battling moles. Squirrels, turkeys, racoons, fox... But the moles have got to go!!

I'll let you send me the moles if the fox is included as well. Of course, the fox will eat the moles in the process...
posted by Shane at 5:43 AM on April 29, 2003

Another good thing about a lawn: it keeps weed seeds to a minimum in your (real) garden. I figured last year that we produced enough cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers last year to save around $200, and that was in a garden about 20' x 10'. Of course, our yard is a little more than 1/10 of an acre.
posted by norm at 6:55 AM on April 29, 2003

I like a lawn, but not one that encompasses the entire yard. I am in the process of breaking mine up with some flower trees, adding a few beds and the like to it.
I have a nice hill in the back yard that will see a bit of terraced gardening eventually on one section, and some wildflowers on another. I like the wildflower idea a lot.
I am not a fan of mowing to satisfy others at all. I really don't like that others in the community can dictate to you, the homeowner. After all, you are the one paying for it.
As for the historical societies, protect to a point, but remember who owns the house and is paying for it, at least that is what I think.
posted by a3matrix at 7:28 AM on April 29, 2003

tr33hggr: I loved this essay. Especially when he starts going into how lawns permit neither sex nor death. That was hilarious. Thank you.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:34 AM on April 29, 2003


What a wonderful yard! I wish I had 1/4 the motivation and inclination that you do. Sounds like a nice place to spend your afternoons...
posted by eas98 at 7:39 AM on April 29, 2003

timely link. My town just came by last week and mowed the "weeds" in front of my house-it was actually wild geranium, daisy fleabane, purple vetch, and ladino clover. bees and butterflies loved it. indigo buntings paused in their northward migration to eat the vetch seeds-but all gone now. Now it's got that hacked over lifeless look which I cannot fathom these mow-nazis apparently prefer.
But that was town property outside my fence-if they go after my actual yard-katie bar the door.
The key to a successful wild garden is to have one small spot of controlled space, i.e. well manicured lawn. It calms the mind of the timid and draws more attention to the wildness beyond those pale for those into it.
posted by quercus at 10:18 AM on April 29, 2003

Leaves as Mulch (from rec.humor.funny)

And hats off to Bargle!
posted by mumbaiyaa at 11:25 AM on April 29, 2003

I really don't like that others in the community can dictate to you, the homeowner.

You obviously don't live down the street from the same guy I do. Two houses down from me, they did absolutely nothing with their yard last year (new subdivision, so it doesn't even have grass). They ended up with a yard full of waist high or higher weeds, which needless to say did a wonderful job of infesting all the other lawns in the area. As someone that's fighting to get my lawn established, it's a real pain having to deal with that. Never did figure out why they never got ticketed over that. I live in an area that has laws about how high weeds are allowed to grow. (To say nothing of the fact that it was absolutely ugly to look at.) I haven't seen any real sign that they're doing anything with it so far this year either, so there may be a mob of people with pitchforks and torches to go after them. (To say nothing of the fact that I'm firmly convinced the house is being used as a drughouse).
posted by piper28 at 11:49 AM on April 29, 2003

mumbaiyaa - nice!
posted by tr33hggr at 1:05 PM on April 29, 2003

piper: at least they aren't growing abandoned cars and trucks. Or heaps of tires. Or raising several hundred cats or dogs.

Not that head-height weeds and a grow-op aren't bad.

Thank god for community standards. Those people who really need their rusting cars and shit-filled backyards are perfectly free to purchase an acreage out of town!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:02 PM on April 29, 2003

piper: at least they aren't growing abandoned cars and trucks. Or heaps of tires. Or raising several hundred cats or dogs.

Give them time. They've only lived in the house about a year now. After all, if they're not going to put grass in, then *something* has to go on the lawn.
posted by piper28 at 11:00 PM on April 29, 2003

Fivefreshfish said, "Water ... at night." Unfortunately, that's a bad idea, because watering at night makes your lawn vulnerable to diseases and slugs.

It's best to water in the very early morning.

This was a great link and discussion. Organic, environmentally concious gardening is a passion of mine.
posted by acridrabbit at 10:55 AM on April 30, 2003

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