we are Groot (swordwhale gardens… ack!)

In an effort to destroy the lawn I inherited (grass is for livestock, otherwise it’s an ecological disaster) and avoid burning fossil fuels mowing I…

  • let the in between yard grow up in a meadow with wildflowers etc. It’s surrounded by bushes and trees so no Martha Stewart types can complain. Also threw some ugly rugs out there as mulch. They look nice in the meadow.
  • Stopped trimming the privet hedges (except where the van has to fit by the garage). They grow out into lovely short trees, lacy and white flowered. Later they get deep blue berries that the birds eat. Birds find shelter and nesting sites among the branches. The hedges are evergreen so nice windbreak and bird shelter in winter too.
  • planted more wildflowers (black eyed susans and native hibiscus, mint and catnip among others)
  • treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez! Filled front yard with tiny bebe trees uprooted from other parts of my property and friends’. Also procured from library yard sale (cheap and benefits library). Cedar, silver maple, locust, redbud, oak. Squirrels have been busy burying acorns, so after a couple weeks of dry weather when I did not have to mow, tiny oaks sprouted up everywhere. I managed to stake out a few, reposition a few more, and mow over some (augh!).

Of course I have now created more work for awhile.

Mowing becomes a slalom/pole bending course…

Image result for pole bending images

Watering becomes a job for Aquaman…

Image result for aquaman

And it’ll be years before the trees shade out the grass sufficiently.

Still, better than just grass. And the trees will shade the house reducing heat in summer, and blocking wind in winter. (I have no air conditioning, yes, none. Just fans and shade and open windows.

Meanwhile, the most efficient way to water new plants is not to turn on a wasteful sprinkler.

It is to sprinkle your lawn with plastic bottles so the neighbors go… “?!?!?!?!?!?!?”

The bottles are one gallon, somewhat translucent (so you can see the water level), rescued from the recycle bin, and zip tied to the stakes so they don’t become trash blowing in the wind. You cut a tiny slit/hole in the bottom with an xacto knife or awl, fill with water and they slow drip water the plant. This allows the water to soak in, encouraging the roots to reach down, not up. A quick shallow watering makes plant roots reach up.

The tule can be found at a craft or fabric store. It is indestructible, pretty, and flutters in the wind faerie like. It also tells you where the darn Groots are so you don’t mow over them. It’s prettier than bare stakes.

I didn’t mulch or much other manic gardening technique here. It’s…

  • dig hole with trowel or big knife
  • loosen dirt
  • stick plant in
  • put sod back around plant, maybe put some potting soil in hole too
  • stake so you don’t mow over your Groot bebes
  • add water jug

You can add some Miracle Gro to the water once in awhile too (read the label).

Some of the volunteer trees at the beginning were walnuts. Then I realized they drop baseball sized bombs all over your yard which annoys the mower and flings random large objects at passing cars. Also toxic to livestock.

So no walnuts.

My three tomato plants (different kinds) are caged to protect them from the Bunnies of Doom (who ate some of the oaks)(or rather nipped them off without even eating them)(hawks need to work harder)… marigolds apparently repel bugs.

Image result for evil rabbits

(buddy Dave Tristan shot me holding Thermal the Wonder Hawk, the bunnies, Aquaman and the pole bender were commandeered from the web… although I have bent a number of poles… my horse was better at other stuff…)

(Son of Sahara, aka Saraf, at SCA event in the 80s)(registered half Arabian)(yes, he knew he was getting carrots for that trick)

I hope I see none of these this year…

Image result for tomato horn worm

That is a tomato hornworm, the juvenile form of this beautiful beast… it is about the size of a hot dog. It’s kind of pretty but it eats veggies… my veggies. Mine mine mine mine mine…

Image result for tomato horn worm


“moth family Sphingidae.” (that’s a white lined sphinx moth, above)



Meanwhile the lotuses have responded insanely to some plant food…

In the wild, the American lotus has both floating leaves (with a weirdly water repellent surface that has been studied by science), and aerial leaves. There is a tai chi move called “wave hands like lotus leaves”… and it fits.

Each year from mid July to mid August, American Lotus bloom in the shallow backwaters. We have some in PA on the Susquehanna River, but more can be found in Maryland’s Sassafras River and Bohemia.


Paddling through them requires some adjustments to traditional techniques…


PS Mau Loa is Hawaiian for “forever, endless, eternal, everlasting…”

Jason Momoa is Hawaiian on his dad’s side.

After high school, Momoa began college in Iowa as a marine biology major, studying for a period in the Florida Keys. He transferred his major to wildlife biology at Colorado State University. Before completing his degree, he moved back to the Hawaiian Islands to reconnect with his father.

Let me repeat that… marine biology

Aquaman studied marine biology…

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