My dad, an old farmer in a very conventional Ontario town, must have applied herbicide to the lawn because now that he’s gone, the lawn has gone to a heavenly variety of plants. Here’s a pictorial of what happens to a lawn with some disturbance, no herbicide, and left to grow.
Tiny wild forget-me-nots. Notice the lichen on the walk!
Unknown name, a less prickly thistle that is quite pretty
Ragweed, the kind that sets off people’s allergies. Pull them up! Luckily the rabbits eat them.
White and pinkish clover
Oxalis on the left, something I don’t know in the middle, and forget-me-nots
A nicely filled-in patch where the rabbit hutch used to be
Lambs quarters, which are edible, by the fence. Lots of oxalis, edible with a lemony tang for salads
Creeping Charlie is the dark purple flower in the corner; the white flower would be open on a sunnier day
The white flower is just as unknown as the leafier one from above; you can see a thistle on the right
Where the ground is bare: cultivated pepper plants
Cultivated rhubarb, this patch about 4 years old. I have gathered seeds from a mature plant that I will hopefully harvest from in the next three years.
While this is not my lawn, I would continue to allow it to grow and diversify. I’d pull the ragweed and thistles and whatever weeds surrounded the pepper plants (we weed vegetable gardens so that the vegetables can get the resources and thrive. I’d also mow only the paths that foot traffic might take, to strengthen the things that like to grow low.
But of course, I also might consider having a bunny-renting service. Dad really did say that when they were living there, he only had to mow a couple of times that season.
This is a long-running blog about the pleasures of living like a farm kid in an urban context. There’s a big focus on ecology and wildlife because this brings joy and is the greatest potential most people have of restoring some balance to nature. You can also use my services for landscaping your property using native plants. You can upgrade to a new ground cover to gradually replace your lawn and green up your parking spot. You can also prevent bird crashes with advice or my assistance.
My mission is to inform and engage you in an appreciation for resilience and living close to the land. I also want to help you increase the beauty and biodiversity of your property and our towns, cities, and regions.