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BONNIE'S GARDEN--A Green Desert...

A Green Desert---I heard that term a few days ago from a regular customer.  She was bemoaning the fact that she had a yard full of flowers but very few pollinators around.  And she said she thought it might be because she lived in the middle of a green desert.

I thought about those words that night as I sat on the top step of my sidewalk and looked around my own neighborhood.  Green lawns, green foundation plantings, green hedges.  Green, green, green.  I love green you understand, but what is the fascination with lush green lawns and green Japanese hollies and American boxwoods, to the exclusion of everything else?  There might be a little color in spring when azaleas used as foundation plantings bloom and a little color later in the summer when the obligatory crape myrtle at the corner of the yard blooms, but that’s it.

I have a lot of flowers in my yard, but why would butterflies, bees and hummingbirds fly over several acres of green nothingness to get to it?  I’m not big on lawns, myself--it’s a lot of time and money and energy into something which doesn’t really “do” anything except prevent erosion.  Okay, so it does help “filter” water before it makes it into our streams and rivers, but it doesn’t feed anything—except grubs (which we then put chemicals down to kill).  And a lot of what it is filtering, has to be the chemicals we put on the lawn in the first place! 

And, what’s more, most of the grasses we use for lawns are NOT even native grasses—Bluegrass is native to Europe and Northern Asia; Bermuda grass is native to Africa; Zoysia native to East Asia; even perennial rye native to Southern Europe and the Middle East.

When did clover become a weed?  Yards used to be a mixture of grass and white clover.  I read somewhere that years ago a company was making a broadleaf weed killer to kill dandelions that killed clover, too.  So they simply listed it as an undesirable weed and we allowed them to tell us what was and wasn’t acceptable in our lawns. 

I have a good friend who grew up in Surrey in England.  She says that Europeans are really into flowers.  In Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, England they often have more flowers than yard.  And even those people who live in little row houses with about six square feet of lawn in front, usually have those filled with flowers instead of grass.  And if they don’t have a lawn at all, they have flowers spilling out of window boxes or planters on the porch.

Scientists say that loss of habitat is one of the biggest problems our pollinators face. Maybe it’s something as simple as starting with our own yards.
Posted: 7/11/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: bonnie's, garden
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