For Valentine's Day, Timber Books has invited some bloggers to write anti-valentines to lawns, to help spread the word about Beautiful No-Mow Yards. (Click here to see the anti-Valentines of my blogging buddies.)
I'll start with a photo that shows lawn at its most perfect and ridiculous. Next, here are some tidbits gleaned from the 160 or so comments competing for a copy of the No-Mow book:
Husbands are frequently blamed for hanging onto their lawns for dear life, no matter what the gardening wife wants. But wives can be sneaky:
My husband asked me, "Is it my imagination, or is it taking me less and less time each year to cut the grass?" I have gotten rid of about half of it.
There are plenty of reasons for lawns not doing well: shade, drought+flood cycles, black walnut trees, and DOGS.
On the other hand, dogs are what's keeping lots of respondents from removing their lawns, and they ask about plants that can stand up to them. One commenter is hoping that Carex can, another reports that moss definitely can't. Another is resigned – only mulch or gravel will work.
Ingenious, adventuresome gardeners report replacing their lawns with everything imaginable – the expected veg plots and garden beds but also meditation gardens, an olive grove rising above native grasses (gotta see!), a sea of mondo grass, a permaculture forest, and prairies appropriate to the climate, like this Little Bluestem in the prettiest blog header I've ever seen.
One writer reported great success with sheep's fescue, which needs mowing just once a year – and then only if the seedheads are looking ratty. It's not happy in the sunniest spots, though, so she'll be overseeding there with clover. (Wanna see!)
And lastly, a commenter needs a lawn alternative that's good for grazing dairy cows and chickens. Oy, the challenges!
Now how about some eye candy? These are my Valentines to lawnless gardens, from my travels around the U.S.
Long Island Garden of Dennis Schrader
Portland Garden of Ketzel Levine (now living in Ecuador)