We have a beautiful, fragrant butterfly garden in our back yard. It's filled with colorful flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. We also get lots of other colorful birds that stop by.
I like to keep it mulched with leaves and grass clippings. They are quick and easy, as well as great food for the gardens. They are also free. The neighbor next door has a HUGE yard, so I often ask him for his grass clippings. He obliges my strange request, kind of the way you pat a child on the head when she wants to dip her french fries in chocolate syrup. It's the head nod followed by the slightly strange look.
Last weekend he dropped off some grass clippings while we were out of town. I didn't get to move them to the garden until just a couple of days ago. Now that I've done it, I wish I had left them alone. The grass clippings started to compost before I could move them. I knew this as the middle of the pile was warm and mushy.
Instead of one composting pile of grass clippings, I have smelly grass mulch in the garden bed closest to our house. When we open the windows, we breath in a smelly garden stench, rather than the sweet fragrance of summer flowers. I know it won't last long, but right now it stinks.
This won't stop me from using grass clippings, but it will make me more attentive whenever my neighbor leaves a pile. Some day this will be part of the family lore -- one of many crazy gardening stories with my name attached!