Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Horticultural Gettysburg

Regular readers of this blog will recall my intention to refrain from mowing the prairie grasses that make up our outer lawn and may also recall Mrs. ProfessorRoush's not-so-subtle resistance to said intention. For new readers, you can catch up here and here.   

While the end to this horticultural civil conflict is nowhere in sight, I am happy to report that the first skirmish has been won by the ecologically-enlightened Native Faction and its allies, and that Mrs. ProfessorRoush has conceded that the particular unmown strip pictured below might possibly have some redeeming qualities. I believe it was the cheery faces of all the Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) peeking above the grass that has temporarily quieted the dogs of war.

Please don't tell She Who Likes Manicured Lawns, but this area, about 15 feet wide by 50 feet long, laying between the driveway and the unbearing fruit trees that I euphemistically call my orchard, was always my secret weapon; my personal Manhattan Project to bring a swift and decisive end to the conflict. This spot was my best hope for a quick victory and it paid off.  I had previously mowed around a few volunteer R. hirta's in this area last year, preserving a couple of 1 foot by 3 foot strips for a few weeks,  and the cute little yellow buttons obviously procreated and self-sowed themselves above and beyond the call of duty for my benefit.  The lesson here, as always, is that overwhelming numbers are often a key component of victory, horticultural or otherwise. 

The tide of battle has also shifted because the Supreme Commander of the Mowing Faction has not yet encountered any snakes on her walks with the dog, nor has there been a noticeable increase in ticks and chiggers along the mown paths.  The Primary Rabbit-and-Snake Chaser has cooperated by keeping any information that reptiles and rodents are present in the demilitarized zones on the down-low.  

I won't try to pretend that all my unmown areas, now all approximately one foot in average height, have anywhere near this degree of accidental beauty, but I'm hoping other forbs seed themselves around by next year to enhance those areas which are currently less floriferous.  In the meantime, the growing grass itself may aid the General of the Native Faction and his allies as the prairie grass develops its usual red and buff coloration in September and October.  I am aware that Mrs. ProfessorRoush likes the autumn colors of the prairie grasses and, as always, accurate information about the weaknesses of your enemy often determines the outcome of the war.  God-willing, an Armistice will soon be signed and freedom to escape the tyranny of a carefully-manicured suburban utopia will belong to myself, the Primary Rabbit-and-Snake chaser, and the collective prairie flora.


  1. Excellent and entertaining post, as always, friend. I read every one of your blog entries with interest. Keep it up!

  2. Great writing! Very enjoyable post. I see you have a book, I will check it out.
    Just found you so going to make my self familiar with your postings. Thanks for sharing ~ Jacque

  3. Fun post to read! Thank you so much for linking up to Cottage Flora Thursday's at Fishtail Cottage! xoxo, tracie

  4. Hello ,Professor, I`m new to your blog, but will read with interest your attempts to do some native prairie plants. I ,too, am naturalizing some small areas around my 3 acres at home and am also attempting to do so for a ten acre tract I own outside of this small town in Texas. Drop by my page sometime and see what I`m up to.


Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous And thanks again for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...