This short, easy to read volume is a call to arms to put away your lawn mower and embrace a less tidy meadow. Owen Wormser is a landscape designer in the US Northeast, specializing in organic designs for residential and commercial spaces.
Mowed lawn space across the US works out to roughly the equivalent of the state of Washington. Lawns were once a status symbol: owning land that didn’t need to be used for food production was a flex. While lawns can be beautiful, they’re also ecological deadspaces. Native insects cannot make use of non-native grasses. Where there are no bugs, there are no birds, and so on up the food chain. They must be mowed frequently, and are often covered in fertilizers and weed killing chemicals that leech into the water table, further compounding the disaster. In light of all this, why not replace some or all of your lawn with a wildflower meadow?
Wormser’s guide walks you through the why’s and how’s of establishing a meadow, beginning with preparing your lawn (die, grass and weeds!), then on to choosing plants, and caring for your meadow. Spoiler: you’ll only mow it once a year, but you do need to maintain it in the first year or two before the meadow becomes self-sustaining.
I’m at the beginning of transitioning some of my lawn into meadow (pending approval by the town), and found this book to be just the right amount of information. I’m still going to employ a professional to do some of the work because my affinity for DIY does not extend to non-fiber crafting, but I would recommend it to anyone exploring lawn alternatives.
ETA Now I wish I had seen this before writing the review so I could have titled this “Grave of the Fireflies”.