This is a continuation of my other post about Lawn Domination. That one was all about why I want to get rid of grass, and what didn’t work for me. This one is about how I’m finally getting rid of some of our lawn.
So back to our side yard. The one patch of yard where my plants survived this year was a little patch in the middle of our side yard with a balloon flower plant and some strawberries.
For most of the summer I just weeded it once every couple of weeks, encouraging the little strawberry plants that are forming a nice ground cover around the balloon flower plant. I made a little circle around it with some landscaping brick/stone/concrete thingies.
Every time a new shoot would come off of a strawberry plant I took it as an opportunity to enlarge my little area a bit. I would yank up the grass and weeds and move the perimeter of my bed back. Another thing that would motivate me to do this was each time Tommy mowed I would go around the outside and yank the grass that needed weed whacking. Since I hate cutting grass, this was pretty satisfying. Again I would move my border out every time I did this.
Around the middle of the summer my area was growing enough that I needed some new plants to keep the grass and weeds at bay. I decided I would split some of the thyme plants in my herb garden that had overgrown their spot and that I would plant those along the border that butts up against our neighbor’s driveway. I grow a variety of culinary thyme. It is a nice option because it grows about 6 inches tall and it’s thick and bushy (there are tons of different varieties ….anyway, thyme sort of unstoppable. This is a nice mounding variety. It’s drought tolerant, and if you let it, it gets cute little flowers on it. I have plenty for my kitchen already…and it’s great for cooking too. Oh and the aroma as you walk by is enough incentive to make me vow to always have thyme in a prominent place in my garden. But I digress.
So in addition to that, I purchased some hardy gladiolas bulbs and planted them, and I planted two variety of irises. One that is a tall bearded iris and will bloom in the late spring. And one that is a short variety that will bloom both spring and fall (if it survives…sometimes I don’t have great luck with plants that I’m REALLY excited about…and irises make my heart sang. I think I love them). I also got a stroke of great luck when my dear friend, who is a member of a gardening club, gave me some sweet potato slips that she had purchased there. I planted as many as I could fit in the back yard, and then planted 2-3 in my side yard garden bed. At that point I was just filling in, and didn’t realize the awesomeness that this would create. But within a few weeks the awesomeness was starting to come to fruition. The glads quickly sprouted and bloomed.
This is what the area started to look like once I got it all planted. I was happy. The sweet potatoes were filling in the area and taking over the grass. Having them covering the ground helped to shade out the weeds, so I wasn’t constantly having huge weeds to dig out anymore.
I just kept expanding all summer and I’m so pleased with the results. I think this is the photo that I took that was closest to peak bed size.
Last week I started to dig up the sweet potatoes since the vines are starting to die back. I got 5 or 6 pounds out of the two plants that I dug up. That was so satisfying and fun.
Next year I will definitely plant them again. Although I think I will plant them a little further away from my existing plants. That way the sweet potatoes that form won’t be so near my perennial plants and I can dig them out without worry of disturbing any roots. And the sweet potato vines grow so rapidly that I’ll still have plenty of ground cover to shade out weeds …and hopefully grass too. Seriously I would like to not have to mow this entire area from the bottom of the photo back to the fence.
I recently read a good lawn care article that had some great tips for how to have a low maintenance lawn….however he was giving recommendations for how to keep grass and get rid of everything else. My issue is too much grass….weeds yeah…but for me grass is a weed here. So he was recommending mowing the lawn on a high setting because the part of the grass that is most vulnerable is near the ground whereas the part that is most vulnerable for most weeds is near the top. So we will be mowing the side yard low. Very low to harm the grass AND the weeds. And the rest of the yard we will mow high I guess.
There were lots of good tips, so if you are into lawn care…especially lazy lawn care, I highly recommend it.
Anyway, in addition to planting sweet potatoes, and changing where I want to plant sunflowers, I also plan to plant day lilies, back near the house where that large clump of long grass is. And also I want to plant daffodils and crocus up near the road. I absolutely adore those early spring flowers. So yeah, that’s how I plan to dominate this one little section of yard. As validation, the sweet older lady that lives next door to us came out specifically one night to ask me what that beautiful ground cover was. She said it was so beautiful she wished it could take over the entire side yard…yeah. Me too.
Anyone else with me on this, not necessarily just gardening, but what do you do to cut down on chores you hate and increase time spent on things you love?