• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Greg Martin
  • Leigh Tate

How do you explain all the "weeds" in the lawn to friends, family, and neighbors

 
Posts: 2
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello,

I have been working to add more native plants to my garden and front lawn areas. However, I have had repeated questions from friends and family about all the "weeds" that are sprouting up. On some occasions, some visiting family decided to "help me out" and "removed some weeds" in one area.

How do you answer questions about native plants to relatives and friends to get them to appreciate the presence of these plants in the yard and lawn areas?
 
steward
Posts: 4265
Location: West Tennessee
1773
cattle cat purity fungi trees books chicken food preservation cooking building homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Brian, welcome to Permies!

Excellent question, and I think it could be complicated, but may not have to be. When people ask me about "weeds" my current response is I ask "what weeds?" When they point to something they see as a weed, I respond, "oh those are forbs." A lot of people are unfamiliar with that word and I will usually give a quick layman definition that forbs are desirable and serve a purpose, provide biodiversity in my lawn or pasture, are part of what makes for healthy soil, and helps nurture soil life such as bugs, without getting deep into the soil food web and what that is. If for some reason my answer seems unsatisfactory to them and they want to insist I do things a certain way or further justify my ways to them I end the conversation as nicely as I can. I hate debating, and I'm really not good at tolerating others demands to explain myself further. Hope this helps!
 
Brian Kidd
Posts: 2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for your reply.

In the past, I have tried to do what you have suggested, and have even gotten some relatives interested in plants that are beneficial to butterflies and bees.

I suppose one continuing difficulty is that some friends and relatives just do not think of these plants as aesthetically-pleasing.
 
Posts: 122
Location: Saskatchewan
44
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I explain that a weed is a plant that is in a location that is doing it or the people who use the area harm. The dandelions, dock, clover, etc. Growing in the lawn all have benefits and zero negatives. The Box elder maples that keep sprouting in the raspberry patch those are 'weeds'.
 
author
Posts: 24
7
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brian,  This is undoubtedly a tricky thing. Strangely this can be the hardest part of growing a meadow or anything other than a lawn and conventional landscaping. Certainly focusing on education can be helpful because for so many people this topic is alien territory.  However, one thing people are generally receptive to is obvious, hit-you-between-the-eyes beauty, and while beauty is subjective, there are undoubtedly some plants that are more likely to be seen as beautiful.  Flowers can help dazzle people and if your 'weeds' do that, they are likely going to win over some people. Texture is another consideration and I usually try to design for and considering these details carefully can go a long way towards creating an aesthetic that will win people over more easily.  
 
master gardener
Posts: 2443
Location: southern Illinois.
632
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It must be my asperger's,  I don't feel any pressure to explain.  Of course, it helps that I live in a remote area of a county of 8000.  Thinking back, a delivery person once did show an interest in what I was doing as did a cop  ((she came with the ambulance ....my wife tried to cut her thumb off).   But both instantly knew instantly this was a homestead. I havent seen a relative in 35 years.
 
gardener
Posts: 3738
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1369
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Owen Wormser wrote:

However, one thing people are generally receptive to is obvious, hit-you-between-the-eyes beauty, and while beauty is subjective, there are undoubtedly some plants that are more likely to be seen as beautiful.

Yes - even if a few of your choices are more planted for the benefits of neighbors than your own plan. An example I've used, although I admit I happen to really like them, are crocuses. They come up early in the spring year after year and I think it's *really* hard to get annoyed about seeing a crocus in a neighbor's lawn. Many people wouldn't think of planting bulbs in their lawn, but I think it's a good first step for many people to increase their lawn's biodiversity. Wildflower bulbs would be even nicer and I have a few I should try and transplant from one area of my property to my front lawn this fall if time permits. I've hesitated because I'm not sure they'll be as happy as they are where nature planted them.
 
Owen Wormser
author
Posts: 24
7
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Brian Kidd wrote:Thank you for your reply.

In the past, I have tried to do what you have suggested, and have even gotten some relatives interested in plants that are beneficial to butterflies and bees.

I suppose one continuing difficulty is that some friends and relatives just do not think of these plants as aesthetically-pleasing.



Sometimes there's nothing you can do about what people think looks good! But at the same time, people do change over time; never underestimate the power of education and piquing people's curiosity like you did with your relatives regarding bees and butterflies. I often try to rope people in with interesting facts about plants, eg. that hummingbirds line their nests with fuzz gathered from the stems of cinnamon ferns. That sort of thing often gets in there.... You'd be surprised how little bits can add up because people's opinions typically change incrementally, and then one day, they might 'suddenly' be open to the idea of something less conventional then a sterile landscape with grass and gumdrop shrubs.
 
Posts: 9
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We had a problem with our urban homestead in Portland, Oregon.  Someone on the block kept calling the city and reporting us for breaking the city ordinance requiring that one's lawn be shorter than 12 inches (which I think has since been repealed).  This was both funny and problematic, as we had no lawn.  We had 1/3 acre of edible, medicinal, and decorative plants.  The ordinance, of course, was designed to keep people from neglecting their properties.  In our case, we put exponentially more time into maintaining our property than any of our Kentucky bluegrass neighbors.

The first couple times we got the notice in the mail, we went out to the "yard" and looked around for any obvious things we could trim shorter.  The third time it happened, we called the city.  An inspector came out and we took them through the property, explaining what all the plants were and their various uses.  We were granted a variance, which meant whoever was getting their knickers in a twist could call the city all they wanted and nothing would happen.  Had they come talked to us in person, we could have explained to them in person and maybe strengthened a neighborhood connection.

CNN just ran a piece about how more & more people are planting natives in their lawns to conserve water.  When de-lawning goes that mainstream, it makes for ample opportunity to bring your friends & neighbors into the fold.  You might even see some "weeds" appearing on their lawns.
gift
 
10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic