Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Meadow

What do you do when you get nervous about passersby calling Neighborhood Code Enforcement? This was my solution:

Technically, the mess in the northwest corner of my yard is against the rules of civilization in these parts. I keep the front yard relatively neat and tidy, and my backyard is mostly hidden by shrubs along the perimeter. I also make a point of maintaining friendly relations with the neighbors, even the one with five barking dogs. (Five dogs, barking or otherwise, is the household limit here. We have all kinds of rules!) But occasionally, I get nervous about my outre ways.

But the "meadow" has gotten out of hand, even by my standards. I blame free mulch for some of my problems. The county maintains a site where yard trimmings may be dropped off; the trimmings are turned into compost and mulch, free for the taking. I LOVE the idea of recycling yard waste, but you don't know just what went into it. I think that is where the garlic mustard and brambles and grape vine came from. And then there is the thistle, the mint, the honeysuckle, the mulberry, etc. Not what I envisioned for the meadow at all.

(An aside on mulch: I have purchased mulch in bags, which I blame for the stinkhorn (fun) and the bagworms (NOT fun). I have trucked in free mulch from the county. I have taken delivery of dump truck loads of shredded bark from nearby nurseries. While mulch makes a yard look "finished" and discourages weeds and helps retain moisture, when I don't mulch, some plants, like columbine and brown eyed Susan, spread more readily. My goal is to eventually not need much "foreign" mulch.)

Anyway, it's time for a do-over. This past summer I mowed the meadow. Next summer I plan to move the brush pile into the corner, then tame the fence rows while keeping the rest mowed. After that, we'll see. My current vision is a few apple trees plus native plantings of the prairie persuasion. And a water feature. And a place to sit. Suggestions welcome!

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