Grass that is both less and greener

The scene caused a stir in the United States: the entire lawn was uprooted in Las Vegas to avoid wasting water. In Quebec, the City wants to limit the watering of flowers. And in a recent manifesto, Family Farmers called for replacing green grass with fragrant, medicinal, bee -making or vegetable plants. Hard time for the lawn? However, it’s easy to make a green move … by accepting that it’s not like that.

Posted at 12:00 pm

Simon Chabot

Simon Chabot
The Press

“People really want to help, and are wondering what to do” to help the planet, said Émilie Viau-Drouin, president of the Cooperative for ecological local agriculture, after the publication, along with Family Farmers, ng Manifesto of Stability, pleading among other things for less uniform flower beds. “Actually, you can start by adding plants to your lawn that contribute to biodiversity. It’s not nothing, it’s a big gesture!»


PHOTO DENIS GERMAIN, SPECIAL INTEGRATION

In the Botanical Garden, the dandelion grows freely, until it forms a thick yellow carpet between the tulip beds.

And the best thing about it is that this gesture can be limited … to idle. An approach advocated by Joshua Jarry, horticultural information officer at the Botanical Garden. “The easiest way to promote biodiversity is to let things go,” he said. Beautiful plants can appear on their own, then reseed annually, such as the Virginia strawberry plant, with beautiful white flowers, forget-me-nots, different types of violets, clover, plantain , wild parsnip … and dandelion, of course. »

In the Botanical Garden, the dandelion grows freely, until it forms a thick yellow carpet between the tulip beds. “It’s perfect for helping winter-hungry pollinating insects feed themselves,” added Joshua Jarry, who was mentioned in passing the Dandelion Challenge (called “No Mow May” to English speakers), which invites you to delay mowing the yellow flowers in order. to help the bees at the time of year when they are most vulnerable. Adding white clover to your lawn will also help pollinate insects.

A culture to change

The obsession with the uniform lawn is “a question of culture”, recalls Émilie Viau-Drouin. A culture that sometimes leads to antics, like growing it up in the middle of the desert.


PHOTO JOE BUGLEWICZ, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Workers are clearing an entire lawn from a lot in Las Vegas.

Faced with dangerously low water supply amid the drought, Nevada passed legislation last year to ban weed and replace it with plants more suited to the arid climate. Also because of drinking water shortages, Quebec City will limit watering lawns to two nights a week during the summer, and to only one night next year.

However, municipalities are still often slowing down the abandonment of lawns, by limiting the height of plants allowed and by banning the development of vegetable gardens in front of properties, for example.

“It’s absurd,” said Elisabeth Cardin, a former restaurateur (Manitoba) who wrote Manifesto of Stability. “If you care about the health of your community, it should be the opposite.” Cities and boroughs can encourage the abandonment of lawns thanks to subsidies, he believes. “It takes time and money to uproot a lawn.»

  • Wild thyme, a very dense and fragrant ground cover

    PHOTO DENIS GERMAIN, SPECIAL INTEGRATION

    Wild thyme, a very dense and fragrant ground cover

  • Forget-me-not, along with the cute bluish flowers, multiplied in the shade of the trees.

    PHOTO DENIS GERMAIN, SPECIAL INTEGRATION

    Forget-me-not, along with the cute bluish flowers, multiplied in the shade of the trees.

  • Common violets blooming in the middle of the lawn of the Botanical Garden

    PHOTO DENIS GERMAIN, SPECIAL INTEGRATION

    Common violets blooming in the middle of the lawn of the Botanical Garden

  • Virginia strawberries, which yield edible berries valued by birds

    PHOTO DENIS GERMAIN, SPECIAL INTEGRATION

    Virginia strawberries, which yield edible berries valued by birds

  • Figwort, a very invasive plant that grows specifically under trees

    PHOTO DENIS GERMAIN, SPECIAL INTEGRATION

    Figwort, a very invasive plant that grows specifically under trees

1/5

The gradual transition

One thing is for sure, before it all boils down, it’s better to check what the regulations in the area provide, recalls Joshua Jarry, who also advises to get along with his neighbors, as the plants grow without worrying about the fence. Trained in biology at McGill, he also encourages those who prefer to clear their lawn to plan a gradual move.

“I don’t really like the idea of ​​replacing one monoculture with another,” he said. It’s best to trim your lawn little by little, to see what grows well in each soil, depending on the soil and the amount of sunlight. Thyme, for example, takes years to establish. Better to plant some in a corner to start. »

Digging a few flowerbeds or laying tubs on the lawn to practice an above-ground vegetable garden seemed to him to be great ways to gradually get away from the lawn without spending large sums … or risking of extreme frustration.


PHOTO DENIS GERMAIN, SPECIAL INTEGRATION

Joshua Jarry, from the Botanical Garden

No one stands on the tread like grass, not even white clover or thyme, the two alternative stars, you should know.

Joshua Jarry, from the Botanical Garden

There are also plants that should not take over the lawn, as they risk losing control, the attendant added. These include, the very aggressive mint, the false buttercup, the ground ivy and the false rapunzel bellflower, despite the relatively small bell-shaped purple flowers.

The first thing to do to get started, Elisabeth Cardin recommends, is to get inspired by visiting a garden center, especially if it specializes in native plants. Joshua Jarry, for his part, directs people to the Garden’s Horticultural and Botanical Notebook, which contains a ton of up-to-date information, including ground covers, native plants and those that grow amazingly in gardens. of flowers.

A fresh look at your lawn can lead to a broader and necessary reflection, Elisabeth Cardin believes, on the time when all ecological migration must begin. Instead of seeing your lawn as a “thing to take care of”, he says, we should view it as something “living that will help us better understand our relationship with nature”. “Once this sensitivity is developed, we will no longer remain insensitive to the agricultural cause, from which everything we eat comes from,” she concludes.

Go to the Botanical Garden

The 25that The Botanical Garden’s Great Gardening Rendez-vous will be held in person next weekend in Montreal. Visitors will find, from May 27 to 29, some forty exhibitors, including local producers who will offer plants and ecological gardening advice.

Leave a Comment