DescriptionA tale of lawn conversion:
It was 2002 when we moved to Orono. As I surveyed a mowed acre of our lakeside front yard in 2011, my eyes rested on an old sewer mound. How could we improve that space and help the environment at the same time?
Recently, I had read about restoring lawns back into natural spaces. We had already planted shrubs and trees for the birds but needed to do more. I consulted my Master Gardener mother, a talented landscape artist, for advice; we sketched out a plan. It worked! The old gardening adage: “First it sleeps, then it creeps, then it leaps” was true. Within three years, the new pollinator garden was bursting with flowers, milkweed and a variety of bees and butterflies, including the imperiled Monarch.
In 2014, four more pollinator gardens were created, including a fountain in the center, for the bees. This spring, seedlings were planted around the quadrant perimeters that will grow into a bee-friendly hedge. Starting these gardens was a lot of work but the result is rewarding and easy. Natural spaces don’t need weeding and only in the spring do we maintain them by removing dead stalks to make way for new growth.