There are a lot of lawns in this country. Wide areas of green, flat, ubiquitous and prerequisite of any landowner. It seems almost demanded of us. Your castle should look out over expanses of green carpet. The occasional, managed looking hedge or flowerbed is OK, but just don't crowd out the miles and miles of lawn.
Slowly that ethic seems to be changing, and people across the nation are making a difference. In communities large and small more people are willing to forgo the tried-and-true well-clipped lawn experience and experiment with some new ideas for all that land.
It ain't always easy, though.
My own experiences are a testament to the very up-and-down, good and bad that occurs with any such endeavor. In 2008 I planted the first school garden at the elementary school where I
work. Over two school years I worked with teachers who wanted their students to experience growing their own food. The project was fun, but due to my circumstances I was limited in what I was able to accomplish. In the end, the politics of the workplace took over and I lost that very special project.
Since then I've concentrated on native plant gardens, and now I have three locations. While I have approval for these gardens, the very public nature of their locations and the inability I have to look after them on a routine basis means anything can – and does – happen.
The plants I've planted have been dug up and cut down. They've been through drought and floods. They've been driven over and walked on. Despite the problems, I cannot help but continue what I do. I love it! I am insatiable. My desire to be one with the earth, combined with my desire to share my new-found love of native plants and their benefits for the ecosystem are unstoppable.
While what I do is technically not “guerrilla” gardening (Wikipedia defines guerrilla gardening as: Guerrilla gardening is the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to utilize, such as an abandoned site, an area that is not being cared for, or private property. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_gardening, it is something I encourage more people to do.
There are many good reasons those who are willing should pursue guerrilla gardening. If you,
like me, do not have an area you can garden where you live, i.e. an apartment, finding a location to get that garden itch scratched is vital. If you, like me, believe in less lawn and more food, all that green space is just calling your name. If you, like me, wish to share the importance of native plants and reconnect people with nature, there is nothing more satisfying than watching the cone flowers, prairie clovers, beardtongues, milkweeds, and ferns grow, attracting bugs and birds alike.
Hope abounds. More and more people are learning about and planting native plants in their yards. More and more people are tearing up part of their lawn and planting fruits and vegetables. Here in Springfield we have a new initiative: Free Garden Project. This project encourages people to plant vegetables wherever they can. They've just begun, yet they are attracting excitement and interest. Just one of many stories unfolding in the effort to reduce lawns – which are a food desert for insects – and increase the beauty around us.