Monday, April 7, 2014

A time for shaggy

Front yard at the Homestead, and the natives have violated code.

Saw the first Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Saturday afternoon. We were driving a new-to-us dog from the shelter over to the antique store for a meet-and-greet with Mrs. Miller. AnniePie has bested me at spotting Spring's first Scissortail more years than I care to count, so we were tickled, Buddy and I, to get one up on her.

May just be me, but Spring seems early this year. Not that everyone isn't ready for it, judging by remarks heard these past weeks down at the dealership. In my dreams, I record diligently the miriad "firsts" that mark seasonal changes like returning Scissortails and Mississippi Kites. Would that my real world naturalist were so methodical and a little less lazy!

Green may be bursting forth all over, but the venerable old mesquite trees I run with aren't having it. Their leaf buds remain as closed as a Teabagger's mind. Easter is, after all, yet two weeks out.

Received a slow, soaking, half-inch rain delivered all day long Sunday. Yards all across town are going from winter brown to spring green as if a switch had been thrown. Of course, the better part of that green is a mixed salald of what urbanites like to call weeds.

The Prairie Look may be the next big thing in lawns. 
Just exactly what is a weed, anyway? Have you ever wondered about that? Well, turns out a weed can be any plant growing where one or more humans do not want it to grow. By that common law definition, a healthy marijuana plant thriving in the middle of a Roundup Ready, Republican soybean patch is a weed, an undesirable plant growing in a human-controlled location.

Yes, that's my front patch (above and left), so I can talk about it. The first couple of things to know about it are that very little turfgrass grows here and that as it stands now, this patch is in violation of city code.

The other thing you should know is that this is a drought-made yard. No chemicals -- no pesticides, herbicides nor chemical fertilizers -- have been applied here for at least the past five years. No "city" water has been spread over it for the last two years. Code violation is that a majority of the plants here are more than 9" in height.

And it is precisely that social no-no that gives this patch texture and diversity. I also happen to believe this yard to be more drought tolerant than any turfgrass lawn on artificial life support.

My prairie-style yard contains Henbit, Wild Garlic, Dandelions and other LYFs (Little Yellow Flowers) as well as drought-spawned Khaki Weed. This patch also is visited regularly by a host of flying insects, including native bees, butterflies and Gypsy moths.

This unprecedented drought is tough all over more than anywhere else. Barring a rain of biblical proportions, folks here in River City will be up against tougher restrictions on the uses of city water in a matter of days. 

This Prairie Shaggy look that has evolved on my patch may just be the next big thing in yard management.  

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