Friday, May 1, 2015
A Plea for Loving Lawn Weeds
Here's a photo to give lawn fanatics the heebie-jeebies, while it gives our native bees and butterflies good cause to shout "Hurray!" Yes, I know that both Ground Ivy and Dandelions are introduced non-native species, but they still provide pollen and nectar to our native pollinators craving sustenance in early spring when other, native flowers have yet to bloom. Molting birds, especially, love Ground Ivy and will roll in it to ease the pain of their feathers poking through, for the minty oils in the leaves are both analgesic and antiseptic. And oh, aren't these flowers just beautiful!
The stretch of sunny warm weather we've had of late has coaxed both of these lovely lawn "weeds" into bloom at last, while also spurring the growth of useless lawn grass. Already, I can smell the stench of weedkillers and pesticides and lawnmower exhaust threatening to overpower whatever delicate scents the early flowers are sending forth to entice flying visitors. Oh please, dear people, it's time to rethink our lawn-care priorities! Those poisons we spread on our lawns don't kill just the weeds and bugs we despise, they also kill the micro-critters that live in the soil and convert grass clipping and other plant material into the nutrients needed to sustain the health of plants. Those poisons also enter our homes on the feet of pets and children who don't heed the "Caution: Pesticide Application" signs, and those poisons eventually enter the vital organs of those pets and children to often malignant effect.
So please, let's change our priorities. Let's learn to love weeds and bugs, and say to hell with grass. Ground Ivy and violets and speedwells and clover and chickweeds and other little flowering plants can cover our lawns just as well, while also providing food for the pollinators we need for our very own nourishment. And they will look much prettier than boring old grass.