The idea of the new landscape undertaking was to plant only native species and ultimately do away with all conventional lawn surrounding my house. I began with my side yard, covering the grass and weeds with cardboard and spreading layers of wood chips over that. The scrawny “twigs” of bare root shrub and tree plantings I obtained from the soil and water conservation district barely looked alive. By the time I finished prepping and planting, my side yard resembled a miniature clear cut logging site. Not auspicious.
As the year progressed, some plants grew and blossomed, some appeared to die down and later surprised me with renewed growth, and some just flat out died. A work in progress, for sure, but it’s always fascinating to step around the corner of my house and see how my project is unfolding.
Can nature restore what my predecessors spent centuries grooming to our vain human whims? And will my tenth of an acre make a difference in the grand scheme of wildlife preservation? I don’t know, but… it’s a beginning.
bare root crab apple first autumn foliage drops mere inches to ground