Pollinator Heaven and Hell

by Susan Harris on June 3, 2009


I’ll let these photos speak for themselves.  Above is a sea of Sedum acre with red and white clover, all in bloom.  Below?  The ideal of American landscape design (sic).  (Or is it sick?  You decide.) 

ADDENDUM:  I forgot to link to my Standard Disclaimer about Lawn Replacement - what a mistake!   I promise I don’t mean to add to the chorus of lawn-bashing that paints turfgrass as all bad and lawn-owners as environmental criminals.  But ya gotta admit that we Americans have waaay more of the stuff than we really need, and that goes for homeowners and institutions alike.

Lawn photo credit.


kathleen June 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm

I think it’s okay to have a little of both sorts of lawn, just as long as no chemicals come into play.

Kim June 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm

I think a good design needs some areas of grass to “rest” your eyes, but I think the bottom photo is a bit extreme. I prefer more plantings and less grass.

Jay June 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm

It looks okay to me…

Layanee June 3, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I like them both.

Shawna Coronado June 3, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Grass is a waste of water and a waste of energy. I adore perennials, and plants, and acres & acres of native prairie. My garden is messy and fun – and at the moment full of bugs. ::chuckle::

Let me guide you dear gardener; what inspiration does acres of boring grass give? But a flower… oh a gorgeous bloom… it gives thought and life and poetry to my existence.

Living is worth living because of the variety the world has to offer. It is a joy to see so much life bursting with anticipation of sunshine and smiles.

Especially when it is in my front yard. :-)

Eileen June 4, 2009 at 4:09 am

What about developing a recommended ratio of grass vs. lawn-alternative for homeowners? Can a university grind some numbers to show the enviornmental benefits if everyone converted just 10 percent of their grass to native groundcovers? Those numbers could be used to start a “non-grass-roots” movement.

Kylee from Our Little Acre June 8, 2009 at 12:21 am

Susan, our next-door-neighbor has a small hill on the back side of his pond that he is slowly converting from grass to groundcover. We suggested native potentilla, which grows freely in an area just half a mile down the road from us. In addition to the potentilla, I keep tearing Sedum ‘Acre’ out of my garden and giving it to him. Both are doing very well at covering his hill.

When he asked me how to plant the sedum, I told him, “Just scratch the soil a bit, throw the sedum down, spit on it, and walk away.” And that’s about the truth of it, too! :-)

Town Mouse June 8, 2009 at 11:16 am

To me, it all depends on where you live. In New England, or England, there’s probably enough rain for a nice lawn. But in the arid southwest and west, lawn looks either strange or sick, depending on how much water it gets. 50 million gallons of water a year for a golf course? Seems like a bad idea to me.

heipei June 17, 2009 at 6:49 am

Pff, the second image is from my garden in the Bergische Land part of Germany ;)

juwan June 18, 2009 at 8:06 am

for second image, i think that will be more beautiful if added some flower, will be green and beautiful..

Deirdre June 18, 2009 at 11:02 am

I’m a firm believer in the “good enough” lawn. As someone else said, a little lawn is good to rest the eyes, and contrast with the beds and borders, but moss, clover, bright eyes don’t bother me.
In some situations, such as when trying to reclaim land from pernicious weeds like blackberries, regular mowing is the least toxic way to deal with them.

donna June 18, 2009 at 3:24 pm

What ticks me off here in SoCal is they are telling us homeowners to restrict water, but impose NO restriction on the commercial users and golf courses. Granted many of them they usually use gray water, but still. It’s quite unfair .

Zac June 22, 2009 at 2:31 am

It’s sick, for sure. Unless of course you’re dabbling in silvopasture and the grass is kept short and fertilized by munching animals.

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