Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Going to Seed With Invasive Species

This morning, as MM looked out the kitchen window, he spotted a Goldfinch--locally called, appropriately--the Yellowbird.  Its arrival from the neo-tropical realms coincides with the dandelion's generous complement of seeds which it favors, along with thistle.  As you can see, our yard is very accommodating with its annual production of fluffy seedheads.  The merest touch sends multitudes into the wind, and there are not enough Goldfinches to consume enough of them to make a dent in the number of dandelions we get every year. 

Now, Lowes and Sears would be appalled by our attitude out here JOTOLR,  about a carefully groomed yard.  We don't have one.  The purveyors of poisons would prefer we subscribe to a semi-annual application of Round-Up and decimate our dandelion overload.  But, nay!  Shall not do!  Instead, we leave the yard this time of year to its "naturalized" state, and between the downed trees from the last windstorm and the cascade of wildflowers, we are cultivating everything from Goldfinches to Pileated Woodpeckers.

The Dame's Rocket is similarly protected in our yard.  Another of those invasive plants that expert gardeners say I should consider obliterating...  The whole yard --at the close of the narcissus season, blooms with this lovely mauve understory.  What a statement it makes!  Backlit by the morning sun, waving gently in the breeze....I believe the term "invasive" to be a bit harsh.  They seem to be invasive because they are strong, vibrant, and grow where they please....hence they garner a bad reputation for their long-lasting personalities! Rather like outspoken people.
I used to listen to the admonishments to guard against "invasive" species....but over time, I've come to believe there are other more important causes. 
When we figured up the cost of mowing the yard (before gasoline went to $4/gal.) it was somewhere around $30 each time.  For value received we decided it was better to suffer the shame of not mowing and simply....go to seed. (which we all know is a metaphor for all kinds of slovenly behavior--not the least of which is becoming a senior citizen!)
Oh, and BTW:  the Clematis made it through wonderfully.  Very little wind and only down to 32 degrees! We're almost into May!


  1. Our "lawn" is there to provide a firebreak, since they're needed here. It would be nice to have grass, but that also requires soil, which we don't have. Or at least we have nothing worthy of the name. Mowing is not my favorite pastime, although I'm willing to do it. And I would like to be able to see where I made the last pass. But otherwise we are surrounded by old-field forest and we do get the Pileateds and various other wildlife.

  2. Jim...

    We're just basically cheap! :-)) I applaud your diligence! I used to be the main mower. Didn't mind it. But, again...the cost has skyrocketed to where expense versus value become prominent! Oh....and we DO mow eventually. Either the end of June or beginning of July....and then again, as needed when fire season dictates. Yes, we, too, require that firebreak. So, you did a good job of filling in the necessary details here which I left out!