Monday, May 08, 2006

Leaves of grass, fields of gold

My view on grass is that it’s fine if you live on an estate suitable to be chosen as the set for a Jane Austen film. Otherwise, why bother? Recent grass-sightings at friends’ gardens have not changed my opinion one bit. Most Buffalo houses have a front yard of about 10’ x 20,’ and a back yard not much bigger. Many have less, and of course there are exceptions. (I’m not talking about the large properties on Delaware and in the Lincoln/Chapin/Rumsey, et. al. area.)

But what I’m seeing, on the average property, is a miserable, bumpy patch, littered with weeds, bare spots, and debris. The art of lawn rolling is seemingly unknown here; people don’t even seem aware of the most interesting types of grass, if they must have it. On the other hand, there are so many wonderful ground covers to take the place of grass, many of them flowering, many of them evergreen. Lamium, sweet woodruff, vinca, even pachysandra: they all work much better with a small space. Of course, you can bring that up to the next level by adding plantings of suitable perennial and annual flowers, and/or hardscaping with rocks and flagstones. Now you’re talking.

This view is somewhat extreme, I know.

Having said all that, I enjoy a rolling expanse of grass as much as anyone, and I enjoy it even more when it’s sprinkled with the sulfur-yellow of dandelions, one of my favorite spring plants. Sunday, we saw a gorgeous field of these, in Niagara Falls, at DeVeaux State Park (formerly part of Niagara University).

A beautiful sight.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I've been talking about dandelions on my blog, too. In French they are called "pissenlit" and in German one name is "Pissblume". The people who named them that weren't thinking of gold or sulphur when they saw all that yellow.