One of the things that I adore about my property is that it backs on to a swamp. While some might see this as a problem, for me it is perfect, because being a wetland, it means that there will never be any development back there and my view is always one of a classic Carolina swamp, with ancient trees and understory brush. I grew up in the suburbs of Lancaster and while we always had green spaces, I always wanted to live in a forest, and while our nice little sub-division has tidy yards on a tidy street out front, out back it is wild kingdom.
The area closest to my house is my patio, which right now looks like a jungle thanks to the Lemon Balm seedlings coming up in every available crack. The next section is what we laughingly call “lawn” which is really just a collection of grasses and weeds that look green and lawn-like when mowed. We keep this area as Cueball’s play area (and where I hang out my laundry). Beyond that, from the pet burial area to the fence is the relatively “wild” bit, where I allow native plants, shrubs and trees to grow to enable a smooth transition from the chain link fence to the very end of our property which ends at the small creek running through the swamp. All in all we have just shy of an acre, and I am happy to give over almost half of it to the natives.
One of those natives (also known as a noxious weed of course) is Snake Root. It gets its name from the fact that its rhizomes (the roots beneath the ground) look very similar to a Rattle Snake’s tail. It is rampant around here, as can be evidenced from this picture of the very bottom of my yard.
I am sure that those who believe that a “tidy” yard is something other than this would turn their noses up at my rampant Snake Root problem, however I like it. I love its purple blooms in the Spring and more’s to the point, the pollinators of the world absolutely adore it, which in my mind is more important than anyone’s version of what a yard should look like.
Bees are in serious jeopardy right now, Colony Collapse Disorder is rampant, anything, and I mean ANYTHING we can do to help is of no small measure. If this means giving over parts of our suburban properties to a wildflower that will give the bees much needed sustenance at a lean time of the year, then so be it. Once it has bloomed it is hardy enough that it can be mowed or weed eated down and return the following Spring to again provide sustenance to the bees.
I am always happy to give over a part of my land to nature, while the front of my house has formal beds, and a neatly trimmed lawn (well what is left of it after I have taken over more and more with my flower beds), the back is my oasis, it truly is a natural habitat, filled with lizards, and butterflies, and dragonflies, and turtles, and bees, and birds. And that is the way I like it.