My front yard was more purple than green- not a good sign.
Creeping Charlie, a low growing ivy like weed with lilac flowers, left his mark like a gang member tagging his turf. Except his turf was literally my turf- my lawn. I had no one to blame but myself.
I had perennial flowers tunnel vision.
When I first became a solo homeowner, the grass was a green carpet and mostly the same plant contributed to that effect. I thought it just grew that way. Sure, I’d mow it, but how tough was it to keep a lawn green? Somehow I overlooked the fleet of TruGreen vans prowling the neighborhood while on my way to Countryside Nursery for coral-bells and bypassed the sacks of Scotts Steps 1-4 when I shopped for gardening gloves at Ace Hardware. While I planted a bed of carnations in the backyard, crabgrass proliferated in the front yard. Creeping Charlie profited from my inattentiveness.
I rebranded my lawn.
Eventually the mostly green front yard became less so. I researched strategies to restore a respectable lawn and quickly became overwhelmed by services and chemicals for purchase. I stumbled onto an organic site recommending the old fashioned pull the invaders out method or resign yourself to a diversified lawn. I did both. Somehow the term “diversified” swayed me. My lawn wasn’t neglected. It was diversified. Diversity is creative and exciting. My diversified lawn became home to violets, daisy bells, and clover. Violets seemed innocent enough and the daisy bells lent a meadow nuance. So I let them be. I couldn’t muster a vendetta against clover. As a kid I’d tie the pliable stems into crowns and bracelets and pretend I was Zsa Zsa Gabor. (Not the best role model.) I committed to digging out dandelions. Their milky stalks with puffy seed heads rose haughtily above the grass with a self-confidence I resented. My diversified lawn flourished. Creeping Charlie capitalized on my broad-minded stance.
Hungry bee guilt weighed heavily.
On Facebook tucked among “Hack for Recycling Plastic Bottles into a Do It Yourself Life-support System”, “Seventeen Ways to Surprise a Cat with a Cucumber”, and “Easy Crockpot Curry” I found an article about starving bees. (An aside here, I wouldn’t recommend the Recycled Life-support System unless you are seriously ill on a deserted island with a litter problem. Zucchinis work as well as cucumbers with cats. Allow thirty minutes to round up the cardamom, garam masala, and other spices needed for curry.) The “Starving Bees” slideshow featured the self-confident dandelion as the earliest spring flower providing food to bees. By giving dandelions the heave-ho, I contributed to the bees’ hunger plight. Bees were vital to the quality of our lives- they pollinated crops, they produced wax, they provided a key ingredient for Honey Smacks! Defeated by research I gave dandelions a pass. Creeping Charlie exploited my noble intentions.
While trimming my backyard hydrangeas I think about my weedy front lawn. A weed by definition is a “plant that is growing where it is not wanted.” A change in my attitude puts this issue to rest. My front yard is a diversified bee haven. This is what I want. This is my Zen.
So I have a mostly purple and yellow lawn- a good sign.