Greenbelts vs. Bloomways

What If Our Turf Greenbelts Became Bloomways?

Several L.A.-area cities have medians that serve as greenbelts or parklike space enjoyed by residents and commuters.  The San Vincente median that extends from Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica through Brentwood invites a run between the communities and makes the road a pleasant drive.  Across town, San Marino’s expansive medians on Huntington Drive and Sierra Madre Boulevard offer a visual respite for commuters and help define the community aesthetic.

These medians have turned from green to brown in drought and cost their cities a pretty penny to maintain.  San Marino has evaluated turf removal from these medians as a cost and water saving measure.  But what could possibly replace these city-defining long expanses of green?  Let’s look at the tradeoffs between turf and just one California native IdealMow lawn alternative.

Turf Medians Form Greenbelts

Turf certainly has aesthetic and practical advantages over paved medians.  Foliage absorbs heat where concrete amplifies it, making areas with foliage cooler as well as visually pleasing.  It also absorbs and filters water instead of creating more runoff.  When it comes to where people will want to jog – or live – greenways have it all over gray-ways!

Greenbelt advantages take some effort to maintain.  Most of these medians ceased being turf years ago – they are now a mix of turf grass, clover and low-lying weeds.  To maintain visual appeal, they must be mowed and are often also watered.

Believe it or not, there is an alternative that offers all the advantages of turf without the downsides.

Yarrow IdealMow Meadows Form  Bloomways

While most of us know Yarrow as a beautiful white, yellow or reddish-pink flower, Yarrow can also function as a deliciously soft lawn alternative.  Mowing Yarrow inspires it to grow as a low matt of fern-like foliage.  Vibrantly green, Yarrow can also look like a traditional lawn from a distance.  As a lawn alternative, its tolerance to foot traffic is second only to Carex pansa, and, like the Carex, it is incredibly low maintenance.

As a turf alternative for public spaces, Yarrow offers municipalities new opportunities.  Imagine the ability to easily reshape the location of lawn and flower space on a whim!  Mowed spaces look like lawn, unmowed space will bloom.  Encouraging foot traffic to head one way or another, or offering a fresh visual experience, can be as simple as changing which areas are mowed.  Should a municipality need to cut back on maintenance for a time, the result could actually be an increase in flowers and color.

To see Yarrow used as a lawn, visit the New Look for L.A. garden at Descanso Gardens where it can also be seen as a bloom.