So, it’s been a long time since I posted a blog. It looks like I have 6 followers, two of which are surely my husband and my mother, so I’m not likely disappointing many people… 😉
To catch the other four of you up, we’ve recently moved and are in the middle of selling one of the two houses (next door to each other) that we used to live in. The landscaping in the yard of the house for sale (now under contract) is all native and I have detailed maps and lists of all the plants in the yard– more than 60 species. I put them online, along with some other resources for potential buyers and, if you’re interested, you can see them here: http://forthebirdsandthebees.com/5236-Auburndale-Rd.php.
The property to which we moved last year is about a half hour outside of Charlotte. The house, built in the 1950s, is on a 2-acre lot which looks like it has probably been mown throughout every growing season ever since then. With the exception, of course, of a few landscaped areas of Chinese holly, Japanese privet, and English ivy. So much of my “leisure time” recently has been spent cutting down decades-old hollies and privet and pulling up English ivy. We bought the property in the winter, so last summer I pretty much “let the yard go” to see what, if anything other than “lawn” would sprout up. I was pleased by the one random orchid that popped up in the front yard, but I’ve also discovered that we’ve got quite an infestation of various other invasive plants– Chinese wisteria snaking all over the place, Japanese stilt grass and monkey grass (Liriope) invading the “lawn area”, and creeping Charlie, also known as ground ivy (and probably other names, as well).
I spent some time tilling and seeding a good deal of the “lawn” area with Eco-lawn, a mix of low-growing native grasses that I won’t have to mow to keep in line with the city ordinance that insists “all vegetation” be kept under 12″ tall (that’s another story for another day). Much of the info out there on Eco-lawn says it does well in the sun and in the shade, but my experience with it here and in Charlotte is that it does well in the shade here. It might do okay in the sun if it gets watered regularly, but when we go periods of 3 weeks in the middle of the summer with no rain, it does not do well in the sunny areas.
I’ve converted a dry, sunny, mostly barren corner of the front yard into a pollinator meadow and have dug up half of the monkey grass in the “island” of the circular driveway to replace it with pollinator-enticing plants. Those areas are doing very well and attracting a good diversity and abundance of butterflies, bees, and wasps.
Underneath the canopy trees (mature oaks , pines, and tulip poplar) in the front yard, I’m introducing an understory layer of small trees (such as redbud, dogwood, sourwood, and witch hazel) and shrubs (toothless viburnum, hydrangeas, sweetspire, and beauty berry). The plan is to also include many species of shade-loving perennials, but there’s not too much to report yet on that front…