Blooming shurbs, not grass, grow along the edges of our front yard

Who says our lawns have to flow together?  All around my suburban neighborhood I see people giving their best garden space to grass.

I say dig it up!  Buffer, screen, create mixed borders that change with the season.  They’re good for the soul, insects and wildlife.  They create a sense of enclosure that makes us all feel a little safer.  Most of all they give us space to try new plants and plan for four seasons of interest.

Below are the 22 different kinds of plants blooming today–February 27th, 2011– in the mixed beds around our house in Apex, NC.

A mixture of trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials make up a woodsy mixed border in my garden

1) Daffodils–3 varieties

2) Crocus

3) Hyacinth

4) Forsythia (yellow and white)

5) Viola

6) Lenten Rose

7) Mahonia

8) Texas Scarlet Quince

This quince is great in the yard--great in a vase

9) Wintersweet

10) Sweet breath of Spring (Lonceria  fragmantisma)

11) Winter Daphne

12) Winter Iris

13) Bergenia

14) Camellia Japonica–several varieties

15) Prunus mume (two varieties)

Clouds of Prunus blooms--

16) Prunus Altumnalis

18) Native redbud tree

19) Bearsfoot Helleborus

20) Robbs Spurge

21) Violet

22) Edgeworthia Snow Cream

Edgeworthia smells wonderful

Many of these plants are fragrant.  Some make great cut flowers.  All are most welcome after cold winter days.  And grass…well it’s green.  Ok, that’s nice, but how much of it do you really need?

One more thing to consider while we’re all thinking about turf–Does it really need to be perfect?  I think not.  Of course, I love running barefoot through blades of green.  But  perfect grass takes a lot of time, money, fertilizer, water, and weed killer.

Again–I think not.

I’ve decided  my ideal lawn would be a small oval with lots of clover.  I’d let it bloom between mowings to attract lots of honey bees for the flowers and vegetables.  Now if I can just convince my husband….

A sampling of blooms from today's walk around the garden--