The Bee Lawn: Letting Nature Take Its Course

The Bee Lawn:  Letting Nature Take Its Course

The Bee Lawn:  Letting Nature Take Care of Its Own

Last September when I moved into my new place in the country, I had an acre of neglected land to make decisions about (when I say neglected, I mean by humans, nature has always looked after its own).

This is how it was divided up:
Evergreen trees
Conventional lawn
Open field of made up of native grasses and bracken fern
Open field that had previously been mowed and tilled
An ornamental garden of shrubs and perennials
A small area that used to be a vegetable garden but was now overgrown over with weeds and grass

My long term goal is to eventually put more of the conventional lawn to use for growing food.  I’ll also plant fruit trees and bushes.  But what to do about the fields?  Well, I decided to do NOTHING.

Instead of mowing down nature’s loveliness, I left it.  Laziness?  Partly.  But its also a practical way of attracting more bees.  By letting the field plants go to flower, I’ve created (allowed for) a BEE SMORGASBORD.

What is a bee lawn?  Its an area that will tolerate some mowing and foot traffic but will also attract and support pollinators.  It is made up of a variety of grasses and flowering plants, often including clovers.

Why grow a bee lawn?

(I got some good answers here at the University of Minnesota website:  I have paraphrased below).

  • A variety of plants is better for the environment than plain lawn grasses:  better for soil health and supports diversity in the ecosystem.
  • Flowering plants support bees and other pollinators which are needed to maintain life on this planet.  No bees = no fruit.  The use of chemical pesticides has greatly reduced the bee/pollinator population and experts are highly concerned (I was going to put a link here but you can just google ‘bee decline’ and thousands of articles will pop up).
  • Plant diversity creates an environment that is less vulnerable to disease and drought and does not require human interference in the form of fertilizers, watering, or chemicals for survival.

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Now I know that the orange flowers pictured, Hawkweed (Hieracium spp.), are considered invasive by the government and some planty types but I’m still on the fence about the categorization of any plants as noxious.  Right now, my attitude is:  if the bees like ‘em, I leave ‘em.  The part of my land where these are growing was disturbed (dug up/mowed) by human activity in the past and the truly native plant material was interfered with and that’s why the so-called invasive plants moved in.

I believe that, over time, Mother Nature will bring things back into balance as long as we humans don’t interfere any more.  So this plot is being left alone for the most part (I may mow it once or twice a year after its gone to seed).  There is some plaintain (Plantago spp.) that I’m gonna use in salads too – me and the bees will all chow down.

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Meanwhile, I sit back and watch bees, butterflies, moths and flying insects enjoy the flowery delights.  There are also a few creepy crawlies like garter snakes (and frogs – I have an unnatural frog phobia which I may write about later) living in this mini-Eden but they too serve a purpose in the eco-system so I’ll live and let live.

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This article was shared at The Backyard Farming Connection Hop. and The Clever Chicks Blog Hop and Tuesdays with a Twist.

The Chicken Chick

Manic Mother

The Bee Lawn:  Letting Nature Take Its Course




Jennifer Houghton

Jennifer Houghton is a yoga & fitness teacher, blogger, and green homesteader living in the British Columbia mountains. She spends most of her days chopping wood, digging dirt, learning to fix things, and babying her 3 cats. She's very keen on furry creatures and the smell of balsam fir trees.

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  1. […] If you let a patch of your lawn grow weedy, mowing only once a year, wildflowers have a chance to bloom, attracting more pollinators. But try not to mow before  late summer, to be sure that any ground nesting birds have already moved on. The folks at Homestead Mania have a “bee lawn”, and you can check out their photos and read more about it here. […]

  2. Green Bean
    Green Bean June 23, 2014 at 7:42 PM .

    “Right now, my attitude is: if the bees like ‘em, I leave ‘em.” I am with you on this 110%. Pollinators are in so much trouble right now, that I’m all for any plant that they like. Nice article.

  3. Kristina & Millie
    Kristina & Millie June 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM .

    love it 🙂 I have a bee/butterfly garden this year and I am happy to see the bees snacking 🙂

  4. Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick

    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog hop, I’ll be featuring you, so please feel free to grab my Featured Button! Have a great week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick®

  5. Mary@Back to the Basics!
    Mary@Back to the Basics! June 17, 2014 at 4:16 AM .

    Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist!!! YOU have been featured today @ Back to the Basics. Looking forward to seeing what you share this week!

  6. […] The Bee Lawn: Letting Nature Take Its Course from homesteadmania […]

  7. Deborah Davis
    Deborah Davis June 16, 2014 at 8:16 PM .

    Hi Jennifer,
    Hooray for your bee lawn! What an important topic! It is vital that we nurture bees with our lawn and gardening practices to attract and support pollinators. Thank you for sharing your tips and experiences with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop! We appreciate it!

  8. […] of lawns and yard and things bees like… The Bee Lawn. Would you do this? I would… if I had any space […]

  9. What a lovely post… what a lovely yard! It must be such a joy to have a space like that! 🙂

  10. Lee @ Lady Lee's Home
    Lee @ Lady Lee's Home June 9, 2014 at 6:24 PM .

    I love this post! And I agree with you 100%, sometimes it is better just let nature do its own thing and if the bees like it than it is all good. There is nothing more beautiful than a field of wild flowers. I love your site, and thanks for visiting mine.

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