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  • kelseynhildebrand

In the Beginning...



There was grass. When my husband and I purchased our home in 2019, it had the thickest, most luxurious monoculture green Bermudagrass (Africa) lawn. We had a row of boxwood bushes (can't find a photo of those beauts but they were there! They're from Europe, Africa, and Asia- feels like everywhere but here), daffodils (Again, Europe, Africa, and Asia), one bush I can't remember, and lots of monkey grass (Asia).


Now, here's the thing. None of the species left in my front yard are considered invasive* species. Nonnative, yes. They weren't hurting anyone. But they also weren't really helping anyone. So I decided to get rid of them, but I didn't need to kill them. I also really didn't want to dig them up. I posted on Facebook Marketplace FREE PLANTS to anybody who wanted to come get them and lemme tell ya. People went WILD for the monkey grass. I had a taker almost immediately, and then a line behind them. Y'all like that grass a whole heck of a lot.


The boxwood bushes were a little harder, as they were very established and mature. I transparently told people that they may not survive the move, but anybody willing to try could have free bushes. Undeterred by my warnings, a man showed up with a trailer and a shovel and took every single one of them in the dark (when it was cooler). He said he was using them on his property as a natural fence and he needed about 30, so my five individuals would be great additions if they could make it! I didn't keep up with the guy, so we will never know if they survived. I'll have to live with that mystery for the rest of my life.


Oddly enough, the removal of the mystery bush was by far the most memorable. Much like the boxwoods, it was quite mature and I knew it may not survive. But a woman wanted to come get it, so I invited her over. She showed up and started digging - she dug for probably two hours? And then she drove away. I messaged her and she said "I went to get some water to pour on it to make it easier to dig up and use the bathroom". OK, that's weird. So I went out and put my hose on it for her and let her know.


She never came back.

I messaged her a few hours later and she goes "There's no way anybody is getting that beast out of the ground!". So, now I had one half-dug-up in my yard. I ended up getting it out but it definitely didn't survive- I could not get enough of the deep roots out of the ground. I hacked it up into tiny pieces and cursed its (immemorable) name. Bye-bye, mystery plant.


I left the daffodils in the raised bed for a few years. They made me smile in the springtime and I didn't know what to do there, anyway. Then, one day, I pulled them all out and planned to give them away but instead I accidentally let them rot in a pot (there were over 200 bulbs in the raised bed....). Sorry, lil guys.


Once I removed all those plants, I had a bunch of empty flower beds (and still a bunch of Bermudagrass) Now what?!


*When I use the term invasive species, it will always be to refer to plants that are nonnative, introduced by human activities, and have a negative effect on the area. Sometimes plant enthusiasts will refer to any ol' species that spreads quickly as "invasive", but that's just not quite right. There are many species native to NE Oklahoma that spread prolifically and while it can be risky to plant them, they are NOT invasive species. Just pesky plants that like to grow far, wide, and fast. The misuse of this word is a pet peeve of mine, as I took an invasive species course in college and am super passionate about preventing their spread!

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