This summer I’ve chatted more about lawns than I ever thought I would. It may have something to do with being a homeowner or maybe being in my thirties or maybe because I think my lawn is pretty cool, who knows? To give you a little recap here is a post taken from my intro:
“A few months later we ended up moving to the quintessential New England town of Amherst, NH – filled with white churches, pristine lawns, historical buildings, and the “Village Green”. I remember that spring, when the leaves began to fill in and the grass began to grow, I was conflicted. I had been learning all about medicinal herbs, the importance of plants, and making crazy tea concoctions during the winter months. Now I was faced with a decision – to keep or not keep the weeds emerging from my lawn. I know, real life problem, right? The hum of landscapers and herbicide sprays throughout my neighborhood where subtle reminders of what is expected in this town.
I had gone to a local garden center and spoke with a woman there. The conversation was short, sweet, and had a lasting impression on me. I went in with the intentions to purchase an organic fertilizer to kill my weeds and keep a pristine yard. She had said, “Do you want a yard full of grass or what nature had intended?” Why was I trying so hard to keep grass? Why is EVERYONE trying to keep grass? All the time, money, chemicals, frustration needed to domesticate nature, now seemed silly to me. So I let my yard do its thing! That spring I noticed medicine and food emerging from my lawn. First the violets, ground ivy, and stinging nettle, then the dandelions, plantain, and white clover appeared. Every few weeks new plants would arrive. Suddenly my yard was more than something to maintain, it was something to watch and enjoy!”
Grass is now less common in my yard and the plants that have decided to take up residency are quite numerous. For the record, weedy lawns require less water and are healthy, green, and may even look like grass from a distance. It amazes me everyday to watch my yard shift from uniform blades of grass (monoculture) to a lush space filled with biodiversity. These weed-free flowerless grass wastelands are monocultures, offering no nutrients of any kind. We may think in our heads that a thick green lawn is healthy and full of life but in reality it’s one of the most sterile places on land! They’re indeed wastelands for pollinators. About 1/3 of our food supply – including blueberries, almonds, avocados, lettuce, broccoli, and cherries, depends on pollinating bees. One of my favorites, Goldenrod, depends on pollinators. The point is, let’s help feed these pollinators rather than take their food away!
Why are we so adamant about maintaining this monoculture? Let’s Livin’ Lawn, I mean, Livin’ Learn from this and move forward!
On the fence about a “Livin’ Lawn”?
If food crops and saving the bees isn’t quite enough to persuade you, below is a list of some medicinal and/or edible plants that could grow in a typical New England yard:
Violets, Plantain, Wild Strawberry, Self Heal, Cinquefoil, Dandelions, Ground Ivy, Red Clover, White Clover, Purslane, Lambs Quarters, Wild Carrot, Yarrow, and many more!
Taking a closer look at Violet…
Violet – Viola odorata
Parts Used – Flowers and Leaves
Plant Uses – Inflammation, sore throats, dry cough, congestion, swollen lymph glands, breast health, cysts, edible, vitamin C
Violet is an edible plant high in vitamin C that offers not only great taste but beauty to any dish. Violet is also commonly used for its anti-inflammatory properties to ease pain associated with arthritis and headaches. In addition, violet is an important plant when dealing with the common cold or flu. She can soothe an irritated or hot throat, calm a dry cough, as well as relieve congestion and swollen lymph glands. However, violet is most famous for her ability to reduce lumps, cysts, and fibrotic tissue of the breast!
Cheers to weedy lawns!