Time for a progress report on the lawn-to-alternative-groundcover conversion happening in my back yard,
the one that started with this report.
What started as a trial of about 10 different groundcovers, many of them from Stepables, has morphed into a much smaller palette of creeping sedums only and designwise, it’s looking much better. There was just too much going on. Also, I was ignoring some sensible advice I read recently – that lawn replacement plants all have the same light and water requirements. Not to mention, the 10 types of plants were spreading at radically different rates and the less aggressive ones were just going to lose out to the bullies – and bullies are exactly what you need to cover a former lawn area of any size at all (unless your budget is huge and you can plant ’em nice and tight).
So I choose the plant I had the most of and not coincidentally the one that would spread the fastest: the Sedum acre that arrived here originally as a volunteer. (The Stepables trials will continue elsewhere in my garden.) One other creeping-type sedum – also a freebie – has been added to the mix and if it does well, it’ll stay, too. I may also add some some clover for effect – and for all the good things it does. After all, who wants another monoculture like the one I got rid of?
Just last week the sedum started blooming like crazy – the gold bits in this photo – and one big pay-off of this project became immediately evident: bees! The good kind, the little pollinators that do no harm and are so embattled of late. I’m mesmerized by watching them in action. What a change from the sterility of fescue.
MOW NO MORE
The other and more obvious pay-off hit me a few weeks ago with the first roar of lawn mowers in my neighborhood. Wow, that’s something I’ll never, ever have to do again – if I can just find a replacement for turfgrass that’s less work, holds soil on my hilly site, can survive the garden hose being slung across it and a little foot traffic, and is better for the environment.
I ain’t giving my little electric mower away yet, but the sedum acre is looking awfully promising.
But, because these reports could be taken as signs of rabid anti-lawn fervor on my part, here’s my handy disclaimer.