The Suitcase Lady


August 21, 2007, 10:20 pm

This is the blog the neighbors are waiting for me to write. It’s a known fact in our neighborhood that my husband and I cannot grow grass.

We bought our beautiful meadow on Lake Michigan over 30 years ago. The acre and one-half of waist-high native grasses, flowers, milkweed and goldenrod had been untouched and beautiful for decades. We vowed to keep it natural forever.

But then we got selfish enough to want to be surrounded by this beauty all the time. To build a modest sized house and dig a well, holes would have to be dug in the ground. We implored the builder to make as small a “footprint” as possible.

After moving in, we naively assumed the havoc caused around the building site would be magically healed by nature and seamlessly blend in with the mostly intact meadow. Nature had other plans. She gave us a 10 foot tall crop of white clover the first year, definitely not a match.

Subsequent years saw other landscapes come and go but none that faintly resembled the untouched part. It became apparent that we would have to intervene and help out Mother Nature.

The neighbors loaned us a rototiller and my husband diligently tilled, planted and watered prairie grasses. Sometimes they grew; sometimes they didn’t. Even when they did grow, they totally betrayed us by not returning the next year. We probably should have just bought that rototiller.

Not too surprisingly, this spring we had to start over again on the blighted part of the homestead. We know that idiocy is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Something had to change. So we got a different blend of seeds, the Native Wisconsin mix.

At this moment, we’ve got a gorgeous, waving field of grass interspersed with glorious cosmos. (If you’ve got to dig up your front yard every year, you might as well throw some lovely annual flower seeds in the mix!)

We are praying to all the garden goddesses that this grass feels at home. But, we’ll be holding our breaths until the snow melts and the sun warms next spring. If we see green, there will be one big lawn party.

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