My big yard is why my feet stink and I don’t love Jesus

I get a little disturbed at times when I read how some folks feel about lawns. Just recently, in an email from Timber Press, Editor-in-Chief Tom Fischer was asked to name several of his favorite books. Giving praise to The American Meadow Garden by John Greenlee, Fischer says:

I couldn’t agree more with the central premise of The American Meadow Garden, by John Greenlee (with photographs by Saxon Holt): that the traditional American lawn is environmentally harmful and aesthetically boring. Greenlee advocates replacing our lawns with designed meadows — blends of ornamental grasses, perennials, and bulbs that are about a million times more interesting (not to mention way less labor intensive and resource-consuming) than an unbroken expanse of Kentucky bluegrass. This book changed the way I think about gardens.

How did you think about gardens before you read that book Mr. Fischer? Did you feel like your garden was asking you to expand? Or was it just an individual clump of ornamental grass that said, “Hey Tom, I wish you’d dig up your ‘unbroken expanse of Kentucky bluegrass’ and plant more of me!”

I have a big yard. An expansive one, to use Mr. Fischer’s term. Lots of folks have big yards. Heck, even the President. But now we’re accused of having lawns that are “environmentally harmful.” What are we to do? I suppose I could hire an excavator to come in with a dozer, but I don’t have that kind of cash. Maybe I could use an herbicide, Round Up perhaps, I’ve almost four acres and I reckon I’d need a hefty amount to cover such a yard.

I’m guilty of being environmentally harmful because I use a gas-guzzling mower to keep my big yard looking nice. I’m environmentally harmful because I have to drive a gas-guzzling truck to work. I’m an environmental hazard because I use too much electricity, water, paper products, wear clothing that’s imported from China, and my feet stink and I don’t love Jesus!

Give me a break. We all need to be better stewards of the environment. Having a grassy yard helps with trapping carbon, and that’s good.

If authors and Editors-in-Chief are going to accuse The American Lawn of being environmentally harmful, then they should also point out the hubris of man for making it so.

An expanse of “environmentally harmful” lawn

 

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8 Comments

  1. …and so the pendulum swings. I do think it might be environmentally harmful to not love Jesus, but I digress.

    What turns out to be environmentally harmful is the unreasonable insistence on shaping nature to some odd perfection of mind. Rather like our Barbie ideal of women… but I digress again ( a favorite pastime). I’ve held out for less chemicals, more tolerance of garden imperfections, and a bit ( or more in my case) of old fashioned lawn that incorporated clovers and judicious use of the mowers.

    But I liked your curmudgeonly rant on the return to our senses. “Don’t tread on me”?

  2. TC, you and I are of one mind on this. Lawns are the number one target of PC, pointy-headed, horto-Nazis who can’t stand the idea that anyone lives differently than they. Lawns HAVE benefits. They cool and purify the air. They supply oxygen. They filter out pollutants before they get into groundwater. They provide a comfortable walking surface. They keep you from tracking mud into the house. They give kids a place to play. They are aesthetic. I could go on and on.

    Hey, why don’t we start a lawn lovers FB page? I’ll be a founding member.

  3. Some of the people who tout “green” living are not living up to the standards they set so high for the rest of us. Do they really believe they’re saving fuel, let alone the planet, by jetting around the country and world to promote their books and projects? It’s a racket, in more ways than one meaning of the word. Some of those green shouters who are getting rich and famous for calling the rest of us sinners will one day be recognized for what they really are. Like television evangelists. Loud and proud. By the way, I think one big reason why that guy got his book published was because of his name–Greenlee.

  4. Ah, TC, I’m pretty much there with you (except for the loving Jesus part – I do.). Meadow yards aren’t for everyone in every location. There are places where it would be entirely acceptable and there are places where it just wouldn’t be. And that’s okay. I’ve got a big yard, too, and to remove it all would just be silly. I’ve removed part of it – the part where my gardens are, the pool, the pool house, and now the new conservatory. Never mind that these things use precious energy in some form or another and they are mostly there for my enjoyment, no one else’s. Gosh, I’m selfish for wanting to control my little acre of the world. You know what? That lawn of mine probably does the least harm to anything and anyone of all the things on my property, when it comes down to it. If people don’t think lawn alternatives require care too, to look like anything other than a weedy field, then they aren’t being honest. Of course, everyone’s standards of “neatness” are different…

    Whoa…that sounded an awful lot like a rant, didn’t it?

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