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 “lifestyle” blog about the pleasures of living like a farm kid in an urban context. You’ll find a wide range of topics that pertain to food, crafts, energy efficiency, and DIY. There’s a big focus on ecology and wildlife because this has brought me a lot joy – but this is also the greatest potential we have of restoring some balance to nature where we live.
Given that, I’ve turned my attention to providing more content for people to switch traditional lawns over to native landscaping and green driveways and things that will support climate readiness, drought and flood-prevention, and increased habitat for biodiversity. Comments and questions are welcome!
If you’re in the Montreal region, you can also use my “Rewilding” service to landscape your property using native plants, convert to a green driveway, and prevent your windows from killing birds.
My mission is to engage you to appreciate ecological resilience and encourage you to take steps to live closer to the land. I want people to increase the beauty, biodiversity, and climate-change readiness our towns, cities, and regions. That begins with homeowners, small business owners – people who own property. Change the way we typically do things, and we change the world.