ethnobotany permaculture tending the wild

Native yarrow brodiaea yampah chia lawns

yampah (Perideridia kelloggii)
yampah (Perideridia kelloggii)

Alright, this is not the place to talk about how the standard lawn is a major contributor to ecological devastation worldwide.      You probably wouldn’t be reading something called FERAL if you didn’t already know that.   I recently came across a front lawn which was made of yarrow (Achillea millefolium). I’m sure it needs no more than rainwater with its deep taproot.  It was beautiful.  Now is this appropriate if you are going to have children running around playing on the lawn all day?   Probably not.  But I will share this observation:   most lawns are not used by anything, ever.  Dogs poop on them perhaps.   They are for show, or just a continuation of a long dead meme that the light of consciousness has never shone.

So let’s say you want to change your lawn without becoming a permaculture hippie or whatever, make it more sustainable.  Move beyond that old landscaping meme.   Many people plant natives, which usually big grasses, bushes, and trees, which is not what many people want.   What if we planted natives like yarrow, yampah, brodiaea, chia, and others that are very small plants that make amazing foods but only if really enough if you have a gigantic cluster of them, let’s say, like a lawn.   Little  or no irrigation.  Attracts native  pollinators (think honey bee apocalypse.)    Let’s try this!   It can’t be worse than most front lawns I see.

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6 thoughts on “Native yarrow brodiaea yampah chia lawns

  1. I think that’s a great idea. I would love to be able to grow chia in my “lawn”, but currently it’s a large majority of wild carrot and a flower I’ve forgotten the name of, and quite a bit of st johns wort. I’ll be sprinkling yarrow seed all over this fall — I absolutely love it. So is chia a perennial in your climate?

  2. Kevin,

    On the list of products to develop for Cagwin & Dorward is a seed mix just like the one you are describing!!!

    I will call to make sure you are included as a consultant on naming the plant varieties to offer clients!

    We are thinking people will want this as the irrigation rationing becomes more harsh. Instead of spending a lot of money to renovate the landscape, why not just introduce a new seed mix that will allow the landscape to be more of a “meadow” of beneficial attractors, medicine, habitat, etc.

    We will do this!!!

  3. Thanks, Mark. Chia is not a perennial anywhere as far as I know. For my area, I’m talking about Salvia columbariae, which is considerably smaller (and with very different shaped leaves) than the commonly sold Salvia hispanica. The seeds (the food part) are the same, though.

  4. It depends on too many factors for me to tell you without more info, but chia and yarrow both should grow just fine there.

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