Working Toward a More Sustainable Yard, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

Here’s my back yard, all texture no mowing — notice I stayed back far enough so you can’t see the weeds (there are several, but weeds are green too so what’s wrong with that).

Back yard with groundcover and perennials.

Back yard ground cover and perennials — the wide angle shot makes it look bigger than it is.

Ajuga spreading in the back yard.

A better view of the ajuga, aka bugleweed. I like the way the black-eyed susans, phlox, and hellebores plant themselves.

There are some beautiful lawns in my neighborhood, and I know a smooth sward of grass is a lovely contrast with the texture of pine a islands’ flowers, shrubs, and trees, but grass is more than I can manage.

Bob tried to teach me to care for the grass, and after his death I soldiered on for a while in his honor. My heart wasn’t in it though. Fertilizing and watering seemed pointless when I knew I had to reseed twice a year because of the shade, plus it’s scary to read the warnings on the packages of lawn treatment chemicals and see what I’m releasing into the environment for the sake of a lawn that I don’t want to mow anyway. A few years of drought taught me that ground covers live when grass doesn’t, and I decided to just let the ajuga have at it. Here’s the back yard in the spring of 2013, with the ajuga blooming, and here’s my first post about it.

Ajuga blooming in the back yard, spring 2013

Ajuga blooming, April 2013

It’s spread quite a bit since then, though there’s still a patch toward the back where it hasn’t filled in yet. As the growth gets tighter there’s a lot less weeding.

I’m trying to attract more insects and pollinators, so was happy to see these guys wander into my viewfinder when I wanted a close up of the black-eyed susan’s seeds for texture.

An ant and a green bee on rudbeckia.

An ant and a bee meet on a black-eyed susan seed head.

As for the front yard, that’s been a less successful transition to a grass-less state, but I’m not giving up. I’ll keep the tale of the galloping ivy (I didn’t plant that) and the lackluster liriope for another post.

 The only downside to eliminating the grass is that my yard-work doesn’t fit well into what lawn maintenance companies do, so if I wanted to hire help, it’d be hard to find. Not to mention we’d probably have conflicting opinions on what’s a weed and what’s a wildflower.

So what’ll it be? Grass or ground cover?

Here’s more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture