The Quest For The “Perfect” Lawn

This is an organic garden blog. You’re not going to find much about any of the conventional 4 step lawn programs here. In fact, you’re going to find a lot of scathing criticism, because, at least in my climate, our local “agricultural” school, UConn, only recommends fertilizing the lawn twice a year at most. (Yes, that school is known for more than its Women’s basketball program.) You can find that recommendation here, along with lots of other great lawn care information for Connecticut lawns.

But–and I’ve posted about this before–what if you don’t want your lawn to be all grass?  Sacrilege, I know, but this past winter, I received mailings from two separate companies that were selling “lawn alternatives.”  And by this, I don’t mean low growing “step on” type plants that we’ve seen in the past like creeping thyme (lovely but only in the right light and soil–which means not mine!)

The first company, Moss Acres, has been in business for decades.  They sell different kinds of moss for all sorts of projects from pavers and patios to large projects like the north side of my home.  I was lucky–my moss came in naturally.  If you want to jump-start a project, this is the company for you!

They also have small quantities for terrariums and craft projects.

Those of you who are long time readers know that I adore my moss–to the Spoiler’s dismay sometimes. I am blessed with large quantities of it at various places on the property. It is one of the best qualities of our property. And it is highly sustainable, requiring nothing at all.  In times of drought it may get brown-ish but it greens right up again as soon as we have the least little bit of moisture.

While this would never be an alternative for an arid climate, it’s certainly suitable for the Northeast, and anyplace with regular spring and autumn rains–as well as acidic soil.

The next company, OutsidePride, is selling seed for a type of clover it’s calling miniclover (and it has trademarked that name). A type of trifolium repens, this clover can be grown on its own or added to existing lawns.  As someone who, again, has an abundance of natural clover in the lawn, I can attest to the benefits of clover in the lawn for a variety of reasons: it attracts pollinators like bees, both native bees and honeybees;  for the most part it deters hungry rabbits from perennials and vegetables (although last year there were so many rabbits nothing deterred them); and it is food for some of the early butterflies like the clouded sulfur. What’s not to like?

OutsidePride also sells mixes for bees, cover crops, native grasses, and for something I just can’t fathom–deer food! To each her own I guess!



2 thoughts on “The Quest For The “Perfect” Lawn

  1. The Chatsworth Lady April 17, 2015 / 3:22 pm

    Very interesting! I plan to have no lawn at the next garden, or at least, only in the one area that would make sense, meaning over the septic system because those need to be accessed regularly for servicing or (heavens forbid) total replacement. The mini-clover sounds very intriguing though. Sadly, in our area clover in a lawn is regarded by most as a sign of neglect :-/, leading to disparaging comments about the owner’s failure to “control weeds”!

  2. gardendaze April 17, 2015 / 4:57 pm

    I think it’s only because we live near a lake that some of us are more tolerant –or tolerated, perhaps. When I moved here 22 years ago, I was the first to put in a front yard vegetable & flower garden. Now several neighbors have them. I also regularly do quirky things with stakes, grow plants in pots all over the place–you get the idea. Clover is the least thing my neighbors put up with!
    But I find that so long as I explain –I have a sign near the road explaining that the property is certified as a backyard habitat –folks grant me a lot of leeway and are fairly tolerant. I guess that speaks well of my mow & blow neighbors!

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