Mothers are famous for unappreciated sage advice. My mother is no exception. However, it wasn’t advice on boys or hairdos or hem length I now cherish in retrospect. My mama told me to leave the weeds alone.
Each spring about this time of year when the Easter eggs had all (well, almost all) been collected and the mower was brought out of mothballs, Mama would beg us to mow around the patches of clover and the ajuga and the buttercups and those tiny white flowers with the fuzzy yellow centers. We would make fun of her and her sentimental objections to pulverizing sweet little wildflowers.
Well, who’s got the last laugh now? If we had listened to Mama, if America had listened to Mama, our pollinators would be in better shape now. But we had to have our respectable lawns and perfectly mown grass and the pretty flowers had to lose their heads. I don’t believe my mother actually had a premonition about colony collapse disorder, but she had the right idea anyway. The current consensus points to inadequacies in the bees’ food supply as one of the contributing factors to the problem.
Now I heed my mother’s advice and leave the weeds alone. Not all of them, but I have a backyard full of clover that’s here to stay. I’m leaving a patch of blooming turnip greens the bees love (top photo) and there are flower seeds to sow for the summer. I still keep the front lawn mowed because I am only a closet nonconformist (and the city will kindly cut it for me at my expense if it exceeds 6 inches).
I bet you leave a little something for the bees, too, don’t you? Renegades.