I live a stone's throw from Delaware. Delaware is green. Very green. The DuPont family that settled much of this area has certainly left its horticultural mark, and their descendants continue to beautify this area to this day.
I didn't grow up around here. I grew up in western Maryland, in a valley nestled between two ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. While I appreciate a beautiful formal garden, it's the scenery of a hilly mountain walk that really makes my heart sing. Give me an outcropping of limestone with ferns all around and a stream winding down the hillside and I'm one happy camper.
Although I had ready access to the hills, I did, as I said, live down in the valley. I lived on the outskirts of a small city. We weren't farmers, but some of our neighbors were. The last home I lived in with my parents (They are still there), was high on a hill with a meadow below and the Antietam Creek beyond the meadow. The neighborhoods I lived in were green, too. But a different sort of green than those I see around here.
You see, the lawns around here are Weed & Feed lawns. They are very, very green. They are uniform and neatly trimmed, and never, ever shaggy. And they never, ever have any dandelions.
Now, I like dandelions in their proper place. I don't want them in my flower gardens, because after the pretty flower goes away (Admit it; they are pretty.), the leaves get tall and gangly and the tap root goes down about sixty feet and you have to pull out the heavy chemical artillery to get rid of them. Dandelions in the lawn, however, are wonderful. The mower keeps the leaves trimmed and tender for year round bunny rabbit consumption. (There are no bunnies on Weed & Feed lawns.) And when they are in bloom, the lawn is sprinkled with jewels of sunny yellow.
It's all a matter of perspective and taste, I suppose. Just where does one draw that line between wilderness on the one hand and manicured formality on the other? Each has its place, but in my yard, we keep the line a bit closer to the wilderness end of the scale than do our neighbors. Sure, we mow the lawn. Part of it, anyway. We have some flower beds and we try to keep them weeded. But the wooded areas are left the way God planted them. Dead trees are allowed to stand, as long as they don't endanger the house. After all, some of our neighbors are woodpeckers and squirrels. The stream banks are cleared of prickly things, but the rest of the natural vegetation has not been replaced with their hybridized cousins. The frogs like it better that way.
Most important, we never, ever Weed & Feed. Today, I took a walk over our little two-acre patch with dogs at my side and a camera around my neck and reaped some of the springtime rewards of our lawn care negligence.
I don't know what this little flower is. It grows in a patch in the shade at the edge of a wood. It is a tiny thing that you might easily walk by, but if you stoop down and take a closer look, you can see its beautiful pink details in the petals. Each little blossom closes up at night and it takes at least until noon to fully open up. Be sure to click on this one so you can see the bright pink anthers on the full-sized shot.
This is a fairly tall wildflower that is growing in the woods. It is so bright white, that you can see it from quite a distance. The flowers remind me of phlox, but the leaves are quite different.
Well, okay, I planted these here. I couldn't resist sharing a shot of the bleeding hearts, though.
When you walk up to the stream, you hear plop, plop, plop as the panicking frogs leave their resting places and escape into the water. When a tree fell over the stream, we left in place the portion of the trunk that bridged the stream. The dogs use it as a bridge. I don't know a person surefooted enough to follow them while walking upright, but kids sometimes cross it on all fours.
So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:28-30