Sunday, April 25, 2010

Exhibit A-Z for Not Having Lawn

I rest my case. I also rest my camera, poor thing is plum (crabapple?) tired.

Praire Fire crabapple, with a Fineline buckthorn flanking the path

Mystery white crabapple from Arbor Day, 1st year in bloom

Prairie Smoke, which so far only the queen bumble bees have been working on

Prairie Fire crab

Chokecherry, Canada Red (leaves come out green, turn plum)

Lots of plants

Lots lots lots of plants

River birch seeds

Tulips, yes, I do believe, tulips

Gold-leaved smokebush

Yesterday the wife and I hit the annual Spring Affair plant sale, sponsored by the Nebraska Arboretum (UNL). Crazy as always. 100s, likely 1000 bodies all at once hitting you with their cardboard flats, no one looking where they are going, slow people, fast people with little regard for others (me). Lovely, though. Lovely every year. I got the last of the milkweed.

Then we hit some nurseries. Found the most majestic weeping mulberry, but they wanted to charge $75 for delivery. Other local nurseries charge $10-20. Had the perfect spot for the mulberry, but the budget dictated I become like every other American and go to Home Depot and buy a $40 white-blooming crabapple instead. I'm sorry. I do buy the vast bulk of my plants from the local folks. Why am I defending myself to you? I bet you do the same thing.

Said local nursery also had a cool tree form of buckthorn. Wowsers.


David in Kansas said...

Aye! Aye! No lawn compares to all that color! By the way, what is the name of the black bird with the red shoulders? I see them here in Kansas but I've never known the name.

Jim Groble said...

Wondrfu;, wonderful pics. The side yards look better than they ever could with grass. Ya, I find myself in that knee-jerk defensive posture also. Great post. jim

Gail said...

A little negative space is good with a garden like mine, but over all I agree~~There seems little need for most lawns! I do like your garden~gail

Kateri said...

Your gardens are beautiful and that is an impressive capture of the blackbird. I'm all for more garden and less lawn.

Sylvana said...

I think that this is a much better use of the space rather than fighting to keep grass growing.

Oh, and I buy a lot of my materials from the BigBox places too. But I find I have better luck with the nursery bought things which makes them a great deal even though they tend to cost so much more.

You could rent a truck to get the mulberry - or find a friend who has a truck and treat them to dinner. That's what I do!

David in Kansas - it's a red-winged blackbird.

Benjamin Vogt said...

David--That'd be a red-winged blackbird. They remind me of growing up on a lake, since they are commonly found around marshes, ponds, and oh, lakes. Their calls are often what of panic and warning--when I'm outside and they are at the feeder they let me know to keep my distance.
Jim--Thank you sir. I like the ease of the side garden, mostly shrubs and small trees. But the whole garden is starting to feel small to me! :)
Gail--Negative space is key, that's for sure. I think I have too much, so the back yard is clearly imbalanced--garden here, lawn there, it's off. Trees need to mature I guess.
Kateri--Darn right it's beautiful! :)
Sylvana--Ah, I see you answered David's bird question. Yes, in general, big box things are, I'd say, and even draw. I have a bog box xrabapple that is slow to root, but the weeping white birch and a $5 Charlie Brown river birch are thriving!

lostlandscape (James) said...

I think your photos are pretty persuasive arguments that there's way more to do with a garden than plant that green stuff. As far as the Home Despots of the world, I usually don't find much to buy beyond some generic veggies since my local big box stores are still pimping the early 20th century vision of California: palms, cycads, lavender...

Layanee said...

You have made your case for no lawn. The garden is looking so interesting and much more so than a lawn. Box stores? I really don't. Just say 'No'. Oh, that didn't work for drugs either and plants are our drugs of choice. So that is the picture of the flower of the new white one? Love it.

2 Green Acres said...

Beautiful pics. I would love to know what everything is - always looking for more ideas for natives for my mid-Atlantic garden. I know we don't share all the same plants, but some we do - like milkweed, which is also going in my garden this year.

Benjamin Vogt said...

James--I still hit the big box stores now and again and sometimes get lucky (esp in July).
Layanee--Actually, that white crab pic is from a mystery seedling I dug up when I moved and planted here. Got it for free from Arbor Day. Turns out to be a crabapple in its first year of bloom (after 4 in the ground)!
2GA--I'll go back in and lable them all. I was short for time--end of term, lots of grading, students panicking, teacher panicking.....

Amy said...

Your garden is very pretty! I would love to get rid of our lawn that looks like a sea of crab grass. A garden is much more interesting!

Craig @ Ellis Hollow said...

Congrats on the GardenRant post. I think there's a novel in there.

Adrian Ayres Fisher said...

Looks really good. I look forward to seeing pix of the mature site.

Re buckthorn: don't know about Nebraska, but it's an illegal invasive plant in Illinois and some other states. The Illinois forest preserve districts spend thousands of man and woman hours each year working to eradicate it. I've spent much time chopping buckthorn myself. There is a native buckthorn that apparently is ok. Here is a link:

Also, have you tried ordering plants from regional mail-order nurseries? I get many native plants much cheaper this way.

ecological gardening

Chloe m said...

I thought my sister was the only one who said wowsers. :)

Yes, a garden is much prettier than a weed infested lawn.( By a long shot.) The arbor adds a great touch.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

There's a cheeky bit of lawn on the top right of pic 6, but all in all I think you'll avoid a visit from the lawn police.

Please can you ship me that urn. As before, simply address it 'France' and it'll get here.

I bought some echinops from a big box store, all are up and in rude health. I think big box store may translate as 'magasin à grande surface'.