The increasing quality of my lawn weeds

For somebody who is obsessed with plants, constantly caring for them, helping them to look their best, the way I treat my lawn is a bit surprising. You see, I just don't really care about the lawn. The turf grasses are left to fight it out with the weeds. I practice the "mow what grows" philosophy most of the time.

So yes, my lawn contains weeds. They become especially apparent when we go for relatively long stretches without much rain, when there's no reason (that I see) to mow, and the weeds reveal themselves to all by confidently rising above the turf. That's how I noticed the other day that the quality of my lawn weeds has really increased this year. (Quantity may have increased too...)


First, we'll look at the old standards, the ones that have been around for years. There are the "wild violets" (Viola sororia):

Indian strawberry (aka mock strawberry) Duchesnea indica (or Potentilla indica):

The grassy weed I think I've just identified as "Nimblewill" (Muhlenbergia schreberi):

I do not like this stuff, but I really love the name. Nimblewill. Nimblewill. Fun!

Smartweed (so difficult to find out what it's actually called. It's in the Persicaria family though), a huge part of the back lawn is mainly this stuff:

Plus several others. None of those gets me too excited.

The Ajuga reptens does get me excited though, and is quite desirable in my lawn:

I've had it for several years although the larger patches have dwindled because of shade. I need to transplant some into sunnier areas...

New in the lawn this year are more exciting things, like Persicaria 'Painters Palette':

It's not widespread, but the number of seedlings in the grass near my original patch of this plant is becoming impressive:

What is rather widespread is Perilla:

I've never seen the seeds from these, but they're apparently dust-like due to the way they have blown throughout my yard and are growing everywhere.

They're so easy to spot though. Nobody else in my neighborhood has purple weeds in their lawns!

There's some bamboo too (hard to believe, right?):

And yes, I have castor bean (Ricinus communis) growing as a lawn weed in some spots!

(Notice that the bamboo and castor bean photos both show more Nimblewill. (Did I write that just so I could say "Nimblewill" again? Maybe, but it's true -- that stuff is pretty thick in this area.)

Sometimes I wish I had a weed-free lawn, but then I think: what fun is that?


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Mark and Gaz  – (August 6, 2015 at 10:22 AM)  

Lawns are actually high maintenance. Much prefer your weed friendly and more relaxed way of having one :)

outlawgardener  – (August 6, 2015 at 10:31 AM)  

You sure have some great "weeds" growing in your lawn. I've got clover, dandelions, and a nice patch of violets. I'd like the violets to take over the whole space as they stay green even without summer water and have those sweet spring blooms. Mow what grows - love it! Nimblewill (one more time just for you!)

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (August 6, 2015 at 11:06 AM)  

You should call it a "meadow" and be at the forefront of a trend.

Alan  – (August 6, 2015 at 12:56 PM)  

Mark/Gaz: I like your approach of no lawn best, but that wouldn't fly here.

Peter: The violet carpet is quite nice when it's all in bloom in the spring, but these are unfortunately not the fragrant species. I tried planting some of those and the animals gobbled them up.

Gerhard: Good thinking! I'd love to get to the point where it never needed be mowed (or maybe a couple times a year), but that's a challenge.

I forgot to mention that letting the "lawn" grow taller has one other advantage: visible turtle trails!

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