Clover Meadows - Bee in Harmony, Rowe Apiaries blog

Let the meadows be

When I came to America 15 years ago, I was in awe of the vast open green fields and woods left for wild life. In Central Asia, wild life does not get a vote, and water resources became scarce decades ago, used up on cotton fields. When I became a beekeeper, a new reality hit me: we don’t have enough wild areas left. Sure, we have our national parks, which I consider the pride of our country, and people are more and more in tune with organic growing practices, crop rotation, growing cover crops, recycling and composting. Still, if there is one national campaign that needs to started, it needs to be about growing meadows, little areas with native wild plants. Wild plants, especially flowers, have always supported our wild life, our butterflies, our native and European honey bees, and many other member of the animal kingdom.

My family shares the ten acres that we own with many animals. Some of them are our pets, some of them are for food, and some just live here, because they have a right to do so. Somehow, we always think that if we keep a green lawn, if our bushes are evenly spaced, if we bag all of our leaves as soon as they hit the ground in the fall and plant the latest, the greatest, most disease resistant, waxy looking, almost to the point of being fake flowers, we qualify for a “green thumb” award. It least I used to think so. Nowadays, we have a weed lawn, interrupted by the wide beds with fruit trees and strawberries (for ground cover); we have clover pastures and lots of bushes, where birds, rabbits, snakes and chipmunks find home. We plant milkweed. We scout local nurseries for wild native plants. I feel more relaxed about my garden style. I look for the inspiration in Gertrude Jekyll’s books. I still hate the Bermuda crab grass, still keep our veggie garden in the boxes, away from the crab grass, and I still dream of the days when I can just sit in a hammock and enjoy the fruits of our labor (I am dreaming about those days on my knees, digging). When we are overseeding our lawn, we always watch out for the fungicides and herbicides on the labels.
Permaculture is not a new concept: it is how people used to live, before they thought they would be too cool to let the nature take over. Nowadays, I want to ask people if they are brave enough to stand up for the wild flowers, for our butterflies and bees, for our kids’ future. We let our meadows and hedges be. It is not just the “bugs” that need them, we need them.

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