If you are one of those people that define a "beautiful lawn" as a homogeneous expanse of green grass without "weeds" and without exception, then you will not appreciate my yard. But, if you enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, you may wish to consider some bee-friendly biodiversity action, especially with commercial honeybee populations in steady and alarming decline. Fact is, those important gluten-free diet elements (vegetables / fruits) overwhelmingly require pollination in order to exist on your table.
I personally find it anything but surprising that honeybees and other bees are disappearing in conjunction with America's obsession over their "perfect" lawns, and our practice of single-crop planting over massive geographic regions. What are the bees to feast on when vast areas are stripped clean of any naturally flowering plants to make room for grass and/or commercial farming of non-flowering grains? I won't even address the issue of pesticides.
I prefer to give the wild bees in my area a chance to eat a balanced diet of pollens, from various flowering plants (both wild and cultivated flowers, fruits, and vegetables), since I need bees to get the fruits and vegetables I want in my gluten-free diet.
My yard is not just Green
Our yard is naturally attractive and encouraging to bees of all kinds. We have many honeybees, bumblebees, wood bees, and a host of other pollinators circulating throughout our yard. The yard is the attraction, the garden is the destination I aim to entice the bees to locate and pollinate.
Our yard region surrounding the garden consists of all sorts of organic wild flowers and flowering "creepers" like clover, thyme, yarrow, flowering vinca-vine, and yes, even some dandelion (which our gold finches and groundhogs truly love!) And, this relationship is working quite well, as our garden is producing a superb amount of vegetables thanks to the constantly busy corridor of bees between our bee-friendly yard and our flowering vegetables.Honeybees on Wild Creeping Thyme (in our yard)Wild Thyme Spreads Nicely after started......and, Wild Yarrow and Clover abound...All lead to Wonderful Garden Vegetables...
- Celeriac - which I wrote about in this blog entry about gluten-free baking with Celeriac.
- Tomatoes - a "must" for so many dishes, be it Italian or Indian or American.
- Various Greens - lettuce, mustard greens, kale, turnip
- Zucchini - and here is a gluten-free recipe using zucchini, tomato, and pesto in a way I really enjoy.
- Watermelon - though I don't know if they will mature in time here in Ohio, I sure do love them!
- Cantaloupe - another delicious sweet treat for us gluten-free folks (well, everyone else too I guess)
- Peppers - jalapenos, habaneros, and a few less spicy ones.
- Eggplant - great for a variety of dishes like eggplant Parmesan, Chinese garlic-eggplant, or some varied Mediterranean dishes
- Cucumbers and Pickles
- Basil - an essential component of our various recipes using Pesto
- plus, a few other things I am sure I am forgetting off the top of my head.
In general, most of my favorite foods require those bees for pollination Sure, I even like the honey the bees produce, but that is just an added bonus.
I encourage biodiversity in your own lawn, and chances are you can find some pleasing additions like the flowering creeping-thyme that make for a beautiful lush carpet-like ground-cover that is green for most of the year (it flowers wonderfully for a few weeks as shown above).
Another wonderful thing about the organic non-grass "grass" (like the thyme), is that it requires very little maintenance and mowing, since it tends not to get very tall, and it forms gentle rolling short waves (few inches) of green and/or flowering pink/purple. And, given the price of gasoline, the less lawn mowing the better!
Oh, did I mention how wonderful all that thyme smells as you take a stroll through it... ahhhhh.