Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Natives vs The Invasives

The Natives vs The Invasives:
Whose turf is it, anyway?

The instant I thought,


I should have known I was popping the top off a can of sacred worms!

Now, I'm a naturalist, say, I'm a naturalist, say, I'm always proud to say. Why, the hours I spend with organic compost in hand are golden. Have you ever tried to give yourself a wildflower meadow with no more than a pinch-penny packet of low count seeds? Just as I say, it takes judgement, brains and maturity to walk this road with old Mama Nature.

Grandson Demetrius Combs, 14,
begins a Mow No Mo' internship.
Some months ago I launched a one-yard Mow No Mo' campaign to show River City that nasty ol' water-guzzling, fossil fumes farting turf grasses are not the only way to do "lawn". There ARE alternatives ~ even for a couple of codgers on fixed incomes.

Our first objective was to remove all the khakiweed with its near-microscopic pricks from the yard. This has left considerable square footage of bare baked clay all across the patch.

The original plan was to power rake the bare spots and reseed with the Texas/Oklahoma Wildflower Mix (ITEM # 3341) from Wildseed Farms. Unfortunately, October ran out of money before we could order the seed. We may try again for November, but I fear that is pushing seeding back a touch too late, I don't know.

Meanwhile, on the back side of the house, the war on khakiweed was being pressed forward with even greater vigor and by strictly mechanical means, mainly a wickedly sharpened, straight-bladed spade that is sublime at scalping off the top eighth to a quarter-inch of former turf.

With reseeding to wildflowers stalled, I began thinking about alternatives to cover the bare patches. That's when my blind eyes were opened to Liriope! I call it my "burning ground cover" moment, you know, like Moses and his bush.

What a powerhouse ground cover! Extremely low maintenance in the drought- stricken Southwest and a champion at going forth and multiplying when offered the narrowest margins in which to spread. Best yet, I have an island of Liriope anchoring the back corner beneath our native redbud colony.
Experimental "diversity" garden tests both native and
non-native species for sustainability. 

The not so good news (in certain circles) is that the mighty monkey grass is a native of Asia, not Texas.
Some folks can get downright hostile at the mere suggestion of admitting non-native species onto Texas dirt.

That native vs. non-native issue did give me some pause. About 15 seconds worth. Then I realized sustainability within a community is totally dependent on diversity.

The diversity plot pictured above is my current holding bed for Liriope as well as moss rose (South America), sedum (Northern hemisphere) and native Texas blue mistflower.

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