Wildflowers forum: Saving lawns. Wildflower lawns and low maintenance

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Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Gleni
Jun 7, 2016 5:51 PM CST
I was watching a British gardening program this week on how lawns are vanishing worldwide.

Modern families prefer to have no lawns usually replacing them with hard stand. The reason is supposedly that both partners are too busy working to make ends meet to care for and mow one.

Worryingly, one of the adverse impacts of losing lawns, they argued, is the loss of invertebrate biodiversity, for example, insects. Despite what people think of lawns, they contended, these are not biological deserts.

But all was not lost, one of the modern solutions they offered for the busy was the Wildflower Lawn. Economically, it was more expensive to establish per square metre but, practically, it only needed to be mowed once or twice a year. As well, it was beautiful and the pollinators loved it.

I have since been surfing looking at wildlife lawns. I have not been too successful for Australia but I was quite surprised how the idea was not only in Britain it was already out there in the US.

Has anyone tried wildflower lawns or would want to?

http://www.hgtvgardens.com/lawns/adding-color-create-a-wildf...

https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/grass-free-lawns/rethinking-the-...

http://www.wildflowerturf.co.uk/home.aspx
[Last edited by Gleni - Jun 7, 2016 6:05 PM (+)]
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Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
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frostweed
Jun 7, 2016 7:13 PM CST

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I think that it is a great idea, our own front yard has no grass, only flower beds with mulched paths in between.
A lot depends on the city where you live and what they allow. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
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central Illinois
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jmorth
Jun 8, 2016 12:10 AM CST
Our front lawn is 2 Burning Bushes, a large pine (once a X-mas tree I think), a wildflower colony of Downy Skullcap, some daylilies and for the ground cover - Ivy..., and a line of low evergreens next to the front sidewalk. No grass. May get mowed once a year (to reduce potential mosquito populations).
I failed to mention several kind of deep holes, complements of Plato.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Jun 8, 2016 5:57 AM CST

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It looks like you have down pretty well J. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Jun 8, 2016 8:07 AM CST
Sometimes the new lawn seed mixes are called Eco Lawn mixes here.
Instead of monocultures of grass seeds, they include a diversity of low growing plants.
They are also called Alternative lawn seed mixes.
I am removing the traditional lawn here, but have not got to replacing it. So until I get to it, it will be covered with bark chips. Eventually some will be converted back to a more Biodiverse lawn area.

Biodiversity is Mother Nature's plan!
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jun 8, 2016 11:44 AM CST
I have too much acreage to mow regularly. So, I am letting a couple of areas return to being a prairie. Not that everyone approves. Is there a lot of difference between creating a prairie and a wildflower lawn? Other than being heavy on flowering plants. Gene
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Jun 8, 2016 4:42 PM CST
I think the only difference would be the height of the plants.
The wildflower lawns tend towards dwarf plants. Some do include grasses
such as fescues which do not grow very tall.
Your Prairie Idea sounds good!
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jun 22, 2016 6:19 AM CST
Very interesting that the lawn advocates are claiming that losing lawns is ecologically harmful.

I've always been of the opinion that any patch of weeds was going to be a superior wildlife magnet to the turf desert that American towns and cities have become.

http://www.stonethegardener.com/wp/2012/08/the-front-yard/

Although... If you are required to have a lawn, a wildflower meadow seems far superior to the over-watered chemical-drenched half-inch tall patches of stubble that America seems to have decided is desirable.

Personally...
I haven't planted any grass at my house.... But.....
I do have patches of Bermuda and bahiagrass growing down the middle of my drive.... Too much trouble to dig it out....

And.... In the rest of the property.... Only the native grasses that are naturally in the seed bank... Bluestem, love grass, switch grass, and broom sedge lol.... (broom sedge is another name for blue stem).

Thumb of 2016-06-22/stone/6cfe34
Switch grass

Thumb of 2016-06-22/stone/4847c7
Silk grass... Lol... Not grass, one of the Scratch daisies...

The neat thing about just growing a nice patch of natives.... Is the opurtunity to learn about different plants.

Those turf crews think... if it's green, mow it or weed eat it.
When your only tools are lawn equipment, everything is grass.


[Last edited by stone - Jun 22, 2016 6:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
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CarolineScott
Jun 22, 2016 7:29 AM CST
The monocultured lawns were invented to sustain the profits of chemical and machine companies. The monoculture lawns have no environmental value.
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Jun 22, 2016 10:57 AM CST

Moderator

I wish more people shared our ideas, but maybe some day Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
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Gleni
Jun 22, 2016 5:31 PM CST
I think the argument is to encourage people to grow life in their yards not hard stand. Hate lawns all you like but they teem with life compared with a brick.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
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CarolineScott
Jun 22, 2016 5:36 PM CST
Yes paved and brick areas interfere with the normal water flow.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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GrammaChar
Jun 23, 2016 9:33 PM CST
Just found this thread...and it makes me happy. I've let the grass go; gave the lawn mower away and got rid of the gas can. Now it's "weeds" - beautiful, interesting, native weeds, like rough fruit scale seed which is feeding black swallowtail butterfly larva and milkweed vines for the monarchs. The paths are crushed granite and free mulch from the county. When it gets too tall, I use a little battery-operated weed eater to take it down a bit. Eye protection is used, but no ear muffs are necessary. So glad I live in the country and don't have to worry about neighbors complaining or deed restrictions. The back acreage is native oak trees and thickets. The front pastures are wildflowers. Maybe I'll stop calling them pastures and refer to them as "meadows" from now on. I like this movement! It feels like the right direction to me. I find new surprises in my "walk on the wild side yard" every day.
Thanks for starting this thread, Glen. I feel at home here.
GrammaChar
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Jun 23, 2016 9:37 PM CST

Moderator

I love Texas native plants and having more space for them makes me very happy. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Rob Duval
Mason, New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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robertduval14
Jun 23, 2016 10:29 PM CST

Plants Admin

You guys must not have to deal with the same level of tick populations as we do in my area.
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Butterflies Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Birds Cat Lover Xeriscape
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frostweed
Jun 24, 2016 5:40 AM CST

Moderator

Hello Rob, we are very lucky to not have ticks here, that we know of.
Of course in the wilderness I am sure there are many ticks, and chiggers too.
Our yard is a certified habitat for birds bees and butterflies, and of course whoever wanders in uninvited. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
Jun 24, 2016 7:14 AM CST
Chiggers! Yep, we have chiggers--in fact, I am scratching bites from six of them today. Glare Hilarious!


Since I no longer drive, I have wildflowers planted in parts of the driveway. The front yard is mostly perennials. Left enough grass to provide access, and for aesthetic reasons (I like the visual break). Back yard is mostly St. Augustine, which I hate, but the dogs like it. Smiling Have a battery-operated mower and edger/trimmer, plenty good enough for what is needed here. Images are from earlier, in Spring.

Thumb of 2016-06-24/lovemyhouse/66ba08 Thumb of 2016-06-24/lovemyhouse/f28170
Thumb of 2016-06-24/lovemyhouse/090763 Thumb of 2016-06-24/lovemyhouse/2e94e3
Thumb of 2016-06-24/lovemyhouse/4a2b36 Thumb of 2016-06-24/lovemyhouse/b65571
Thumb of 2016-06-24/lovemyhouse/2a1242 Thumb of 2016-06-24/lovemyhouse/d135c1

If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Jun 24, 2016 7:25 AM CST
We have ticks bad and that is why we have to keep the lawn mowed. If there were areas of the lawn that we didn't use, we could let it grow. But most people don't have a yard big enough for that. I would love to let part of our yard grow out, but my dh is they type that wants the manicured grass Sighing!

Texas (Zone 8a)
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GrammaChar
Jun 24, 2016 7:29 AM CST
Your yard (and LACK of yard) is lovely, Debra! Looks like a wonderful place to stroll around.
Rob, I'm sorry that you have to deal with ticks. Not fun! I'm lucky not to have them, but do have scorpions, centipedes, fire ants, and chiggers. A bumper crop of chiggers!!! I always look like a "Connect the Dots" puzzle. Hilarious!
GrammaChar
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Butterflies Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Birds Cat Lover Xeriscape
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frostweed
Jun 24, 2016 7:36 AM CST

Moderator

Debra, your yard is absolutely beautiful, you have done a great job. Hurray! Hurray!
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.

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