Opportunist

This sunflower plant popped up right next to the base of Norway maple tree we had removed a while ago. We certainly did not plant it there, the seed must have been dropped by a bird that visited our bird feeder. It got such a late start that it may not bear seeds. We have carefully mowed around it and will see what happens.

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A Thought For Today

A Thought For Today

I subscribe to A Word A Day. Every weekday email arrives in my inbox describing a word, its pronunciation and etymology, and giving usage examples. I’ve enjoyed receiving these messages for almost ten years now. I encourage you to visit and sign up here. http://wordsmith.org/

It includes an unrelated quote which usually enlightens, amuses, give pause for thought. Todays’ quote reminded me of my trip to Paris France about ten years ago. I came upon this scene near the Louvre and it was so iconic that I was compelled to record it.

Oh, and today’s thought? “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Creeping Charlie

I mowed the lawn this evening. Mowing the lawn is a little like vacuuming the house. For me, vacuuming (aka Dysoning) is almost a Zen non-activity in the sense of not requiring a great deal of active, interactive thought. Move such floor-based obstacles as dog beds, water bowl, and so forth out of the way and away I go into my own thought-bubble.

Mowing the yard is similar in that sense. Move the lyre on which the hummingbird feeder hangs, the wagon holding the potted pepper plants, disarm canine land mines, and away you go. Since we have a corded electric lawn mower I have to flip, step over, what have you, to keep from running over the cord but that’s almost mental background noise. Away into my thought-bubble. Tonight I though about Creeping Charlie.

Our yard has an enormous amount of Creeping Charlie. For those of you unfamiliar with it here are a few links.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glechoma_hederacea

http://www.ediblewildfood.com/creeping-charlie.aspx

http://www.gardenontario.org/site.php/beller/news/online/2047

The general consensus seems to be that it’s an invasive, undesirable weed. We don’t object to it. Its’ growth habit is low, requiring less mowing to keep down than turfgrass. Other than mowing it’s zero maintenance – no watering, fertilizer, weeding, mowing.

And that’s a thing about turfgrass that seems very silly. In order to have a good looking, well tended turfgrass lawn the custom is to water and fertilize, which promotes growth. Vertical growth. But vertical growth beyond a certain extent – a few inches – is undesirable, perhaps illegal in some communities. So you have to mow it. But then, to keep the turf green and lush, you water it. Fertilize it. (An aside – we have not watered our lawn since the spring of 2010, nor fertilized since summer 2012.) It grows. Vertically. You have to mow it. Repeat throughout the growing season. Frequently, homeowners’ yards are largely, even exclusively, dedicated to this process, requiring inputs of time, money, additives. I wonder what people would conclude if they did a cost analysis of input versus output.

While I do like the look and feel of a well tended turf lawn it seems to be environmentally unfriendly, resource-wasteful. I once heard on CBC a gardener’s opinion that Kentucky bluegrass is an undesirable, invasive species that deserved to be eradicated from Ontario lawns.

I realize that Creeping Charlie is an import and therefore not ideal. Yet it needs no fertilizer, no water, less mowing than turfgrass, it can be consumed by humans, it’s not known to be toxic to dogs or cats though it seems to be so to cattle and horses. I like the look and the feel underfoot, the minimal input required compared to turfgrass. I doubt our neighbours like it.

Pine tree

I feature this stately specimen in many of my posts. It lives literally next door, in the neighbour’s yard. It must be fifty feet tall if not more, and I love listening to the wind sighing, singing, whistling through its needles. While it blocks a significant amount of sunlight from reaching our vegetable garden, its visual and aural beauty definitely compensates for that inconvenience.

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