My Grudge Against Grass

Every gardener has a story, a reason why they began to garden, mine begins in my grandparents’ garden. It wasn’t large, it didn’t contain rare plants, but it contained the seeds of my garden passion. They had an apple, a pear, a plum, a sour cherry, and even an apricot tree. They had gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, and currants. They grew vegetables, too. I took it all for granted the way children do, just nibbling on fruit here and there and washing off the occasional carrot using the spigot outside. I got most of the dirt off, but wasn’t fussy, so I bet I ate my share of dirt, too.

My parents had a garden and I was put to work weeding among the daddy long legs and swatting mosquitoes as I harvested the green beans I refused to eat. They grew enough tomatoes to give to friends as they still do. I imagined myself as an old lady with a row of raspberry bushes growing along the sidewalk for children to pick as they walked to school.

My grandparents passed away and their garden went with them as gardens often do. The house was sold and the new owners built a garage, got rid of the garden, planted grass and surrounded it with chain-link fence. So began my grudge against grass. I’ve owned grass as long as I’ve owned houses, but at each new home I nibble away at the grass, putting in new garden beds. My favorite garden, that of a friend, has only a strip of grass near the road and a few clumps of ornamental grass in the garden. My Love taught me to whistle through a blade of grass held between two thumbs, however I’m still not convinced enough to love grass.

My Love loves lawn, but I’m the one who tends to it, so I merely mow it and hatch plans to do away with a little more each year. The elderly lady who passed away here was an avid gardener. If only I could have seen her garden in its glory. What’s left? The trees; three blue spruce, a burr oak, two arborvitae, a honeylocust, three red maples, and a black walnut. The shrubs: a bridal wreath spirea, a mockorange, a lilac, and some bush honeysuckle. The perennials: lily of the valley, a line of hosta, a short red daylily, a yellow chrysanthemum (found hidden, unblooming, and barely alive behind an arborvitae), some reverted phlox, and some pale fragrant iris. For fruit there was a substantial patch of raspberries the Japanese beetles relish. There is also a bulb: a red tulip. It sounds like a lot, but this garden had so much more as  a tag here and there from one of her roses proves.

Spring brings new plants to my doorstep, and a little less grass to make room for them. Hopefully my grandparents would approve.

p.s. I just want to add that Tangly Cottage’s Gram’s Garden was the inspiration for this post.


16 Responses to “My Grudge Against Grass”

  1. Kimberly Mackowski Says:

    They would be very proud.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I think the only use grass has is to give a soft surface to walk on. We inherited a garden which was totally grassed over when we moved in. Now we have reduced it to just paths between beds and borders. Mind you it is mostly moss and clover which suits me fine. The bees love the clover!

  3. It is my DREAM to only have grass as a path between the flower beds! But my hub and kids would sadly not approve of the lack of play space. 🙂 It was my great aunt who planted the seed in me, and her home was recently sold as she has moved in with her daughter. It will be sad to see her gardens disappear. 😦

    • We can keep dreaming and keep nibbling away at the grass. It must have been such a pleasure to visit your great aunt’s garden. At least her garden spirit still lives in you!

  4. I think the only reason I’d want a lawn in my garden (if I had one… right now, my “garden” has a tile floor), is so it could be taken over by scented violets. Dandelions, daisies, clover, ground ivy, bugleweed and speedwell, too, but mostly scented violets. They’re blooming all over now, and always make me miss walking out into my parents’ back garden, breathing in a cloud of that scent!

  5. solarbeez Says:

    I bet your grandparents would be very proud of you. Keep growing those flowers too so the bees can have a little variety as they look for sources of nectar.

    • Thanks, we have lots of flowers and bees, but I’m not a beekeeper. They just come in as the flowers bloom.

      • solarbeez Says:

        That’s okay…you are providing a bee haven, giving them lots of biodiversity.

      • We’re surrounded by farm fields, so for a year like this one where the farmer has planted winter wheat, or one growing corn, the bees have to choose between my fancy flowers and the weeds!

  6. Great post. Remember: a lawn is nature under a totalitarian regime!

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