Like many yards across America, at some point, someone thought a little Bermuda grass would go a long way, which, of course, it does. I’m not someone who generally believes in pristine lawns anyway and would prefer to see oceans of raised beds and native plants replace the spread of suburban yards and their inevitable villainous Bermuda grass. My husband also hates mowing, and we are so old school we have a push rotary mower. My goal has always been to supplant our weedy yard with other vegetation.
In addition to keeping a hive of bees in my backyard and a flock of chickens, I have quite the vegetable garden, mini orchard, and space devoted to native plants. When I began planting native plants, I specifically looked for natives that were useful not only to my backyard hive but also for the plethora of other native bees and pollinators whose natural habits have shrunk under suburban lawns and stretches of asphalt and cement. If you have space in your backyard for a hive, you should consider planting New England Asters in it not just for your honeybees but for native ones too.
The plight of the monarchs is well known: They depend on milkweed in order to reproduce. Without milkweed, the butterfly will become extinct, but milkweed has been plowed under and replaced with lawns and pavement. When I started my gigantic garden, I wanted to ensure that I included native plants to attract pollinators and to support biodiversity in an area that has lost so much of it.
I love planting native flowers in the garden, and I have two large flower beds devoted to them. Unfortunately, the rabbits have enjoyed the prairie clover I bought nearly as much as I would’ve if they’d ever allowed them to grow large enough to flower… or grow much at all. I probably should’ve been more aware that all the neighborhood rabbits would enjoy clover (of all plants), but I didn’t put that together when I ordered them. Due to their overindulgence, the clover has struggled, and I think this last winter finally did the vast majority of them in.
Every year, every gardener has new plans for his or her garden. Some gardeners might try growing a new vegetable, begin starting plants indoors, or decide to save seeds. Others think about world domination and expand her number of 4 x 8 garden beds by seven and throw in a 4 x 4 for good measure. Oh, and, of course, try growing a new vegetable. Or five. Actually, I’m not certain offhand how many new types of vegetables I’m growing this year.
A sick pet meant both that we did not leave for our vacation in Great Smoky Mountains National Park yesterday and that we instead spent the day at the K-State Veterinary Clinic trying to determine the underlying cause for our dog’s intermittent vomiting of blood. On paper, the day was not a good Thursday. In reality, the day was a best-worst kind of day, a perfect one for making something sweet out of the sour moments in life.