Friday, March 18, 2011

Sward Versus Lawn

Basket Grass, Mown
Lawn is usually a mono-culture of one particular grass species, carefully bred up to cover a large area of open ground. Locally, people get their lawns delivered in rolls from a grass farm.

Lawn and open spaces around a human habitation are not just a traditional garden design feature.

Anthropological research suggests that the requirement of open spaces among a parkland-type distribution of trees were always favoured by humans looking for a new cave. So, something to do with our origins on the African savannahs, probably.

Unidentified Grey Grass, Mown
I'm in there with my origins. While I love my foresty bits around the outside of my yard, I keep everything, including proposed new buildings, from encroaching on the sun in the middle.

My clearing in the forest is where I grow my greens and my cherry tomatoes. Beans and snow peas in their season. Where I sit in the sun in winter.

It does mean that I need to encourage groundcovers for the bits in between. And since I don't believe in mono cultures of anything, I let things come up where they will and then keep them all mown.

It makes for a very interesting sward.  Yesterday I counted twelve different species of both grasses and herbs trying for their place in the sun.

Basket Grass, above, is a shade loving grass native to this region. The unidentified grass on the right, is a recent arrival, probably coming with the new gravel for the drive.

Native Commelina, Mown

The Native Commelina gets little blue flowers. It isn't a grass but does the job of covering the ground just as well.

The open ground in my yard, my sward, is a mosaic of colours and leaf shapes. Much more interesting, I think, than a grey drought-proofed lawn of bowling green grass.

What sort of plants do you grow in your open spaces?

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