turning ‘lawns into meadows,’ with owen wormser

turning ‘lawns into meadows,’ with owen wormser

“Lawns into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape” (affiliate link) is his book’s full title, and its approach is focused on sustainability, regeneration, and beauty, says Owen, who owns Abound Design, a firm based in western Massachusetts.

We talked about how to choose plants for a meadow or meadow garden; how to pick the right grasses and why they are the foundation of your meadow; the steps required for proper preparation without chemical herbicides; aftercare tips and more.

Read along as you listen to the August 24, 2020 edition of my public-radio show and podcast using the player below. You can subscribe to all future editions on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).

Plus: Enter to win a copy of the book by commenting in the box at the very bottom of the page.


Margaret: I’m so glad to get the book, Owen. So to start, the book begins by making the case for meadows versus lawns, which I’ve talked about on the show various times with other guests—Doug Tallamy and so forth. But give us the scene-setting quick pitch on why meadows versus lawns before we dig into your really accessible how-to, especially your “how meadows store carbon” argument.

Owen: Yeah. A lot of people know about how lawns are biological deserts, and they cause a lot of environmental problems. That’s something that you’ve covered in the past. And meadows are really the opposite of that in that they create this level of abundance and one of the ways in which they do that is that they actually build soil, including sequestering large amounts of carbon.

So meadows are incredibly effective at drawing in carbon dioxide, like all plants, breaking that down, releasing the oxygen, taking that carbon and storing it in the ground. And unlike trees, which put a lot of carbon in their trunks, which eventually some of that or most of that’s released back into the atmosphere, meadow plants really park their carbon in the soil.

And their roots can extend as far as 10 or 15 feet into the ground, so they’re really carbon-sequestering machines. And this is a way that you can sequester carbon in your yard, and instead of contributing to global warming with mowing your lawn and using fossil fuels you can have a meadow and sink carbon right on your own property.

Margaret: Sounds like a very good thing to be doing at the moment, definitely. But I hadn’t really read so much about that part of the argument. I’d read about the lack of diversity, the monoculture, or the fact that we mow the lawn into submission so it doesn’t even produce flowers or seeds for insect benefit, blah, blah, blah. So that was a really good point.

Now, you talk about meadows and meadow gardens and you differentiate between the two. Explain what the two are.

Owen Wormser’s book “Lawns Into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape,” for one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is answer this question in the comments box at the very bottom of the page:

Have you ever “un-mowed” any lawn, or otherwise transitioned it to a little wilder? Tell us.

No answer or feeling shy, Just say “count me in” or something like that, and I will, but a reply is even better. I’ll select a random winner after entries close at midnight Tuesday, August 25, 2020. Good luck to all.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

prefer the podcast version of the show?

iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).

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