Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Law Says You Must Have A Lawn (Colorful Ground Covers)

This is Oscar, our 5-year-old rabbit who lives in a dog kennel with a condo-style hutch. He's been inspiring our concerted effort to shrink our lawn by eating all the grasses and clover we pull for him. There are MANY reasons why we don't want to mow grass anymore. (Color/aesthetics, time, I'm allergic to grass AND lawns are not environmentally friendly.) 

Wanting to design our yard with steppable plants that our two small dogs can run upon -- I now present a VARIETY of ground covers that have been growing healthfully these past few years. Most images are of mature plants (we've lived here five years now). 

This native moss, below, just showed up spontaneously one day. Most people here in Western Washington kill moss in favor of grass but, as I alluded to earlier, I've been pulling grass like its the weed. Just look at the photo and notice the many fascinating colors and textures that native moss presents for our external home.

Here next is a blooming steppable plant. (With a bit of clover growing for Oscar to eat later.)

Purple Clover

Commercialized/Spanish Moss
Beauty bark offers a great contrasting color to green plants and provides a wonderful service as a weed barrier.
This next steppable fern (brown) grew so prolific the first year I planted it -- I decided to purchased the same variety in green that next spring (I really like the way this ground cover hugs the Earth tightly!)
Strawberry plants LOVE Western Washington and grow so readily I never worry about the dogs running through it. (The Pug often stops to snack when berries are ripe.)

Hard to believe it but you can walk on either of these two gorgeous flowering plants (below) and they will survive.
Kinnikinik, below, grows in the woods around here so I knew it would do extra well in our yard where it gets watered during the dry summer months.

I grow both golden (below) and purple sage in our gardens.
This is NOT the invasive English Ivy that environmentalists warn folks about. So I've been guilt-free while training it to climb objects, such as the chicken coup exterior. 

Here's another (much brighter) non-invasive ivy; below.

One cautionary word for planting VARIETY in your yard: sometimes the plants grow together. Depending on the look you desire for your gardens, you may like the variety of many plants mingling in unison. Or you might want to thin plants out as they mature (beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to gardens and what you want to let grow there).

Here's what I mean (where plants grew so well they practically hug one another)

And ... saving the BEST images for last ... while taking the above pictures this afternoon I noticed this magical-looking spider web (two images below) under a low-lying bush. I had just watered, so the web was wet. Looking at the prisms, it seemed as though the spider was capturing each droplet like a valuable treasure.

(Thank you for stopping by!)

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