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A Beautiful Plan

Natalie Gilliard and Jonathan Yacko were tired of mowing their lawn, so they decided to plant wildflowers instead.
A woman stands in a field of wildflowers and leans over to touch one of the flowers.
Nina Keck/Vermont Public
Natalie Gilliard enjoys the field of wildflowers she and her husband planted on their property.

Jonathan Yacko and his wife, Natalie Gilliard, were tired of mowing the lawn at their home in Vermont. So they decided to replace most of it with something totally different: wildflowers.

The next time the grass needed to be mowed, Yacko and Gilliard ripped part of it out instead. They raked the soil and poured a giant bag of wildflower seeds over it. Then they waited. As the weather warmed up, little green sprouts started to pop up.

“We’d look out the window and be like, ‘They’re coming! The flowers are coming!’” Gilliard told Nina Keck of Vermont Public (www.vermontpublic.org).

First there were tiny white flowers. Then came yellow, orange, red, purple, and blue ones. The flowers attracted bees and butterflies. The couple decided that one field wasn’t enough. They planted a second one on their next-door neighbor’s land, with the neighbor’s permission.

Nina Keck/Vermont Public
In August, Natalie Gilliard and Jonathan Yacko’s wildflowers look like this.

Pretty soon it wasn’t just the flowers that were bringing smiles. People from the neighborhood began stopping by and thanking them for making the land more beautiful.

“We had such an amazing reaction!” Yacko told Vermont Public.

“When we’re meeting new people,” adds Gilliard, “we can just be like, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re the house with the wildflower meadow.’ And people are like, ‘Oh, I love that meadow! It’s so cool! It made us so happy!’”

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Did You Know

© CHINE NOUVELLE—SIPA/Shutterstock.com

A flower called Rafflesia arnoldii can grow to be up to 3 feet (1 meter) wide! No wonder it’s also called the monster flower.

Rafflesia arnoldii doesn’t smell very sweet. In fact, it stinks like rotten meat! This attracts insects that pollinate the flower.

Why Wildflowers?

© shene—Moment/Getty Images

Scientists say planting wildflowers instead of a lawn can be good for the planet. Here are just a few reasons why.

  • A lawn needs to be mowed to keep it even. Power lawn mowers produce pollution. And many gardeners put chemicals on their lawns to keep them green.
  • Fields of flowers attract and support spiders and insects. Insects are important for many reasons. One reason is that they are food for larger animals.
  • While lawns can require a lot of care, wildflowers don’t. Plus, flowers are beautiful!

Winged Beauties

Two monarch butterflies feed on purple flowers.
© R. Gino Santa Maria—Shutterfree, LLC/Dreamstime.com
Like bees, butterflies love flowers. But why? You can learn more about butterflies at Britannica!
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Word of the Day

oodles

Part of speech:
noun
Definition:
: a large amount of something
Definitions provided by
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