Nature Is Divine And I Won’t Mow My Lawn

A couple summers back, while visiting family in Illinois, I spoke with my husband over the phone to check in on things since he stayed behind at home. He mentioned that someone from the county had stopped by “to make sure that someone was living in the house.” It would seem an odd statement to most, but then again… we don’t cut most of our grass.

When I returned home after the trip, it was to a veritable field of blooming Queen Anne’s Lace surrounding my house. I actually stopped the car at the end of the driveway and squealed in delight.

The kids thought I was nuts. Hell, maybe I am.

I feel no need to completely tame the landscape that surrounds me, for it is a wild place full of life. Bees, butterflies, praying mantises, hummingbirds, and wild canaries congregate just beyond my windows and it brings me incredible joy to bear witness to their daily antics. On rare occasions, I come across the elusive luna moths I love so much. A friend on Facebook once commented on how cool it was to see a praying mantis because they rarely do. I see them all the time because the two acres of grassland that surrounds my house remains largely un-mowed.

I don’t think my lawn looks messy, although if I’m being honest, even I struggled with concern over what the neighbors might think. At first. At least until the moment when I asked myself why. Why should I feel that way?

And that’s when I realized something: there is no good reason.

We live in a society where lawns are forcibly manicured every week, the sole purpose of which is to uphold a ridiculous standard that puts our most prized possessions—our homes—on display to the world. “THIS IS WHERE I LIVE, VERILY THEE SHALL WITNESS THAT IT IS A MAGNIFICENT BUILDING,” is basically what our mutilated lawns are screaming to the world.

Meanwhile, we’re completely upending the ecosystem that surrounds the places in which we live.

Instead, my meadow declares “THIS IS A WILD AND BEAUTIFUL PLACE WHERE NATURE IS CHERISHED AND PRECIOUS TIME IS NOT WASTED ON SUPERFLUOUS GRASS CUTTING.” We live in harmony with the earth, fostering a positive relationship with the ecosystem that naturally occurs upon our acreage.

Nobody cares that I don’t pull weeds from the three acres of woods on our land. Why is that somehow more acceptable than allowing my grass and wildflowers to grow as they will? Why must humans insist on fighting nature? What is the purpose of living a country lifestyle if you shave down all of the greenery that grows around you?

Besides, how much mowed space do we really need? Most of the homes in my area have acres and acres of land surrounding them, and unless those acres are being farmed for hay or other agriculture, they’re mowed down every five days or so. You’d think they’d be spending time out there having yard parties or hosting spontaneous football matches, but the only time I see those people on their lawns is when they’re out there cutting them down. And for what? So the house stands tall in all its glory?

I pull out the thistle and a few other invasive nasties, but the rest of the flowering plants are left to their own devices. We mow a wide strip along either side of the driveway, followed by a much larger, gracefully curving swath around the house and barn. It’s done by hand, using a reel mower that uses no gas, oil, or electric power. It takes a little more effort in spots, particularly those areas where the ground is uneven, but it’s worth it. Mowing is a quiet exercise that actually is an exercise. All said, we mow about one third of an acre of grass and leave the rest alone.

Immediately surrounding the house, I have gold-thread cypress bushes, some other evergreen bushes, a couple of blueberry bushes, some raspberry bushes, and a white silk lilac tree, along with the hostas and other flowering stuff around the porch. Most of that landscaping doesn’t come into view until after you’ve driven up the driveway. My home is a secret, rustic little haven and I like it that way.

When the untouched lawn is taller in the summer months, it sways in the breeze like waves upon water. It’s absolutely beautiful, especially from the second story balcony. Standing on the first floor porch, the natural lawn seems to add a bit of distance between our house and the road.

I actually intend to populate some of that space with flowering trees in the very near future. I’ve got about 14 (hopefully all viable) elderberry starts I rooted in jars of water after taking clippings from my favorite tree behind the house in April. It spontaneously grew from nowhere a few years ago, like the best things so often do, and I decided to try my hand at building a wild orchard from it. Almost all of the starts have roots so far, with the others not far behind. They’re getting potted as they’re ready and will stay that way until they’re planted. We’ll see what happens. So far, the potted baby trees are thriving.

That original elderberry tree, by the way? It grew, all on its own, in an area I didn’t mow for a couple of years. It was a free gift from nature.

On top of that awesomeness… I have not one, but TWO spontaneously-grown dogwood trees! I have to move at least one of them since they’re growing two feet apart from one another, but some random bird or critter must have dropped some seedy goodness and out popped two new (and totally free) trees.

I have a tendency to let things grow just to see what happens. It’s a game of patience, but give things a little bit of time and you never know what will emerge.

My wild yard is an absolutely magical place.



One Response to “Nature Is Divine And I Won’t Mow My Lawn”
  1. Jolyn Bush says:

    You’re absolutly right. Perfect philosophy.

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