Yards Should Welcome Mother Nature
Clean is nice indoors, but it’s not a concept that is recognized by the Earth.
Go outside and take a look at your home. Is it clean, not a dead leaf in sight? Is your yard bright-green mown grass, with few weeds? Is the perimeter weed-free too—just bare, hardened ground? Is there a large mound of mulch under every tree and shrub?
Congratulations! You’ve created a place that is inhospitable to most life.
When was the last time you saw a toad or frog? A snake? A newt? You have clipped, blown, smothered, whacked and poisoned most of what actually belongs there: insects, birds, mammals, amphibians, plants.
Clean is nice indoors, but it’s not a concept that is recognized by the Earth. To other life, you have made a desert.
- If you have a lawn company cut your grass, tell them not to use leaf blowers. If you must “clean up,” use a rake, and pick up limbs and twigs by hand. Life is surviving in those leaves, sticks, grass clippings and pieces of unidentified stuff. There are insects, seeds, eggs—a whole microcosm—in a hidden drop of water. Let them live! Even better, buy an electric mower and mow your own yard.
- Let the “weeds” come up in the areas you don’t use regularly. Plant some native grass, flowers and shrubs on the perimeter—they provide pollen, nectar, housing, seeds, nesting material, food and shelter.
- Keep tree trunks clear, allowing air to reach the bark all the way to the soil line. Don’t let “mulch volcanoes” grow there.
- Don’t buy plants that are grown using persistent pesticides—that means almost anything from a big-box store.
Jeb Stuart-Bullock is the founder of Joy of Gardening, a garden design and renovation company serving Westchester and Putnam Counties since 1995. It focuses on the use of native and deer-resistant plants, and pest and disease management through organic, non-persistent and target-specific methods. For more visit JoyOfGardening.net.