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Landscaping Aesthetics

The Rigid Rules of Urban Yards

—anal-retentive enough for you?

Who says urban landscaping must be rigidly, rectilinearly manicured, every sidewalk precisely edged, every shrub clipped to topiarian perfection, every blade of ground cover mowed to the exacting specifications of a marine recruit's buzz cut? — and don't forget the clockwork irrigation system:

 

A Natural Alternative?

Why not a more rustic look, a little natural oasis in the heart of the bustling city? Why not hearty native plants growing and flowering free, even daring to encroach on the ubiquitous concrete that surrounds all things urban? Why not sidewalks more like a cozy country paths? Why not yards friendly to birds, bees, and butterflies? Why not plants that don't need all that picky pruning and continual artificial irrigation?

Natural Landscaping

 

A Clover Verge

The verge (that narrow strip of land between sidewalk and street) is the perfect place for a lush cover of clover. Besides the bees hanging out there, humans often crouch over it in search of specimens of the four-leafed variety, which seem not to be as rare as thought. And besides looking so lush and verdant, clover is one of the best plants available for restoring nitrogen to the soil.

White Dutch Clover Seed

 

Native Wildflowers

They're naturals! Nothing could be easier to grow. Just spread some seeds and wait. And because they're hearty native plants, used to the vagaries of the local climate, you don't have to do all that exaggerated watering.

American Meadows Wildflowers Seeds

Prairie Moon Nursery Seeds

 

Complementary pastels:

 

Standing Cypress:

 

Tiger Lily (and tiny bees):

 

Indian Blankets:

 

Day Lily:

 

Indian Blanket (with pollen-laden bee):

 

Downy Wood Mint:

 

Purple Coneflower:

 

Clasping Coneflower:

 

Partridge Pea:

 

Vitex bush:

 

Vitex (with bees):

 

Irises:

 

Fleabane:

 

Black-Eyed Susans:

 

Purple pods:

 

Caladiums (or is that Caladia?):

 

Impatiens:

 

Bee on a withering Purple Coneflower:

 

'Nother Purple Coneflower, 'nother bee:

 

Day Lillies:

 

Crepe Myrtle:

 

Lush, wet leaves:

 

Goldfinches

They love feasting on Black-Eyed Susan seeds!

Male:

 

And the female:


 

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