The majority of Long Islanders were brought up to believe that a perfectly manicured carpet-like lawn was a symbol of success and pride. But just as we’re thinking differently about many things — the food we eat, the cars we drive, the habits we keep — we’re also thinking differently about lawns.
Beautiful landscaping is no longer all about sterile green grass. It’s about wildflowers that softly sway in the breeze. It’s about feathery grasses over which butterflies float. It’s about happy little hummingbirds that hover and dart while drinking sweet nectar from bountiful blossoms. In the garden that nature intended, grass grows in all shapes, sizes and colors, and it bustles with life and beauty in many different forms — unaided by fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation.
Imagine dragonflies weaving around the sun’s rays, the light reflecting off their delicate, lacy wings and multi-colored bodies. Imagine heavenly songbirds singing sweetly all around you, safely building their nests, encouraging their young to fly, and eating seeds and berries from the trees, shrubs, and flowers. Imagine rows of lettuce, tomatoes and string beans; and patches of raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries where you can eat fresh from the vine until you are full. Imagine your children full of confidence and strength as they climb a native tree; and full of curiosity and wonder as they discover a box turtle, a ladybug, a chipmunk or a toad. Imagine no longer having to manage the life support that turf grass requires — no more irrigation, no more fertilizing and spraying, no more mowing or edging and no more leaf raking.
People are shocked to know that:
Operating a typical gasoline-powered lawn mower for one hour produces the same amount of smog-forming hydrocarbons as driving an average car almost 200 miles under typical driving conditions. The EPA reports that 17 million gallons of fuel, mostly gasoline, are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment. That’s more than all of the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska.
Most bugs are good bugs. Only about 5 to 15 percent of the bugs found in a yard are considered “pests.” But pesticides are rarely species specific and have unintended casualties including songbirds, mammals, and aquatic life. A 24% tree and shrub canopy reduces rain runoff by 40% because water drips off the leaves and branches slowly. And runoff that picks up chemicals, bacteria and other pollutants is the leading cause of water pollution on Long Island.
Native plants attract native birds and beneficial insects, both of which help control the tick and mosquito population as well as other garden pests. Closely-cropped lawns do not shade the soil as tall grass does, resulting in rapid soil/water evaporation and the need for more watering. Tall grass has a much deeper root system so it requires less watering and is more resistant to drought. 60% of the nitrogen applied to lawns annually ends up in groundwater — affecting drinking water and the health of aquatic ecosystems. Nitrogen is toxic to humans but it is a key nutrient in fertilizers. Over 70 million lbs. of chemical pesticides are applied to lawns in the U.S. each year.
Our organic, co-creative, restorative approach to gardening promotes diversity, beauty and harmony with the natural world, and strives to create a more holistic relationship with the environment than traditional landscaping practices. Specializing in… Lawn Reclamation and Revegetation with Native Trees, Flowers and Grasses Wildlife Habitat Restoration including Attracting Birds and Butterflies Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Gardens Children’s Learning Gardens Lectures and Garden Tours Consultations Embrace nature and protect your local environment.