How did I come to have an untidy yard with beds full of leaves and a lawn sporting dandelions? It all started with violets . . .
We moved to Cleveland Heights in 2006, buying a house in the neighborhood between Cedar/Fairmount and Coventry. The house came with a lawn. Not knowing the options, we simply did what our neighbors did: hire a company to take care of it. They used riding lawn mowers and gas-powered leaf blowers. They sprayed herbicides and mulched. The aesthetic was what I’d describe as “tidy.” Tidy beds with only a few neatly mulched plants, tidy lawn with nothing but grass, tidy pavements with no evidence of their work.
I began to feel a conflict between the way I understand ecosystems, and what I saw in my yard.