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The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn Hardcover – November 21, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“As you turn the pages you will start to imagine that you are sprawled out in the meadow of your dreams, the grasses swooshing over your head. . . . It’s not every book that lifts you from your reading nook and opens wide the vista of the heavens.” —Chicago Tribune
“If you’ve ever thought of abandoning your lawn but haven’t yet, The American Meadow Garden will surely inspire you to action. . . . Take a long look at your lawn mower, and then go buy this book.” —American Gardener
“In a book long awaited by green mavens and horticultural enthusiasts, Greenlee’s dynamic garden designs are paired with Holt’s splendid photographs in a beautifully produced, information-packed volume that looks at meadows in the context of garden spaces large or small.” —Booklist
“Are you bold enough to try your hand at a meadow garden? The time for bringing back nature is now!” —Virginia Master Gardeners Association Report
“A paean to grassy, no-mow landscapes that shiver, shimmer and wave. . . . Greenlee’s easy prose welcomes all comers to aim higher than slabs of pool-table green.” —NPR.org
“Here is an entirely new approach to garden-making. It’s enticing and informative, and it’s presented with polish and pizazz.” —Pacific Horticulture
“This is not a book about how to create the purist’s wildflower meadow, but breaks new ground in showing how garden plants can be used to create a meadow-like environment. Saxon Holt’s photography is beautiful, and Greenlee’s prose the right blend of informative and occasionally provocative.” —Gardens Illustrated
“After you read this book, you’ll wonder why you ever entertained the idea of a lawn.” —Garden Design Online
“This is the rare species of garden book with a continental-wide scope from a West Coast point of view.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Full of inspiring ideas, Greenlee explores how to combine a spectacular variety of grasses with other plants to make the most of their natural forms, fragrance, leaf, and bloom.” —The Seattle Times
“Impressive range of garden-worthy grasses.” —Monterey Herald
“You’ll be rethinking labor-and-resource-intensive lawns after a couple of minutes with The American Meadow Garden.” —The Oregonian
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The Great American Lawn is a chemical sucking, water sucking wasteland. Agreed.
Planting with anything BUT natives local (genotype) to the region. DISAGREE.
Learning to live with European/Asian/African exotic weeds and invasives. For-absolutely-get it.
Greenlee misses the point that the reason for installing an "American" (which implies native plants in my mind) meadow garden is to correct habitat so that fundamentally, insects and then the rest of the food chain can live there. No matter how pretty, if the plants do not satisfy the needs of the insect community (IE: no matter what we think, Monarchs need milkweed to reproduce. End of discussion according to the Monarchs. So, you can plant what you like in hopes of supporting Monarchs, but if there is no milkweed, they are out of here), this garden is not doing its job. Chewed, by the way, is good. These are not gardens primarily for humans, they are for re-establishing diversity and sustainability in the environment. That we benefit by their beauty is a side effect in my mind. If you are going to go through the time and trouble of digging out the dreaded lawn, you might also consider the larger reason you are doing this: it's to recreate balance in the natural world.
Books like this freak me out as they mislead the beginner. The impulse is right, but the planting advice in many places in this book are off target. One would be much better off with Bringing Nature Home by Tallamy (read the last chapter first for inspiration). Also, check out your local nature centers and find the native plant growers in your region for some solid advice on how to get started. No point in spending money to repeat a prettier version of that stupid lawn.
BTW: this is a major cultural shift and guaranteed the neighbors won't like it one bit. They like their lawns and consider native plants "weeds." Don't let that deter you, keep on knowing that in the course of the universe, you are doing the right thing. (But do it with the right plants.) PS: ABSOLUTELY no pesticides, fungicides, insecticides or "cides" of any sort in the native garden. Keep in mind your goal: restoration. Mother Nature knows what she is doing, that's what predators are for: they keep populations under control. The day the Preying Mantis show up, is the day you break out the champagne as your garden is doing its job.