Friday, May 13, 2011

The stupidity of lawns

I am just inside from pushing around a lawnmower, a job that gives me time to reflect on the fact that though I was once a pirate on the high seas (okay, the low seas--we were very close to shore when we were arrested for boarding the whaling vessel), these days I am reduced to engaging in battle with the grass that grows around my suburban house.


If someone tried to sell you three million tiny plants that demanded a considerable amount of maintenance, including weekly pruning throughout their growing season, you'd probably decline the offer.  But most of us have (more or less willingly) planted, mowed, watered, fertilized, and weeded a lawn. Yes, yes, I know there are many good alternatives to lawns, and someday I will convert mine, but for now I endure the stupidity of a lawn.

Here's something we lawn-owners can consider as we trudge behind our lawnmowers: grasses (wild and cultivated) grow differently than other plants. If you regularly lopped off the most-actively growing part of another plant--say the branches off a tree--you'd kill it. But because grass grows from its base, at or near the ground, we can (and indeed, must) mow it repeatedly throughout its growing season.

And while my lawn is small enough that I can tackle it with an old-fashioned push mower rather than a noisy exhaust-producing gas-drinker, it's still big enough for me to ponder my foolish landlubber ways.  Arr!

11 comments:

  1. Think of all the oxygen those tiny leaves are pouring out just for your benefit. Lawns can be our friends.

    And you deserve a medal for using the push mower! No wonder you are so slim and trim.

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  2. I removed my front lawn as soon as I moved in here! I still keep the lawn in the back for my kids to play in. But, I don't fertilize, weed, or water it. It has managed to stay lush and green on its own. I am noticing a few more weeds growing, but as long as I mow it, they blend right in. By the way, I use a cordless electric mower- I highly recommend it!

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  3. Lawns are even sillier down here in Australia--the drought prone country. With water prices surging upwards, I think people will consider alternatives. Let's hope so.

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  4. I just posted about my lawn as well. If you can call it a lawn. And you do NOT live in suburbia. You live in town. Call it like it is, chica!

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  5. Love those old push mowers. We had one when I was a kid. I remember mowing patterns to use as a floor plan for a make-believe house. Today, I let my husband do the honors with the motorized version. But, oh, those old days when the only sound was rather pleasant snickety-snick of the blades going round and round. Alice Lynn

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  6. Alas, I live in an area where the grass just does not grow. Instead, we just get weeds and rocks. Seriously, I think the rocks actually grow out of the ground! They just keep appearing. Plus I have three large dogs constantly trampling any fresh grass trying to force its way through. I've given up on the ideal lawn. I've embraced the weedy/rocky/jungle look!

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  7. Nikki, I think you're right that rocks do rise to the surface...I'm just not sure why. One suggestion I've heard is that the phenomenon is similar to that of little crumbs falling to the bottom of cereal boxes or bags of chips while big pieces work their way up. In the case of rocks, maybe due to vibrations caused by foot traffic or rain or something. Erosion of smaller particles could play a role. Or aggressive lawn gnomes who want to mess with your head?

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  8. As a landscaper, I hate lawns. People plan them backward. They think anything that isn't flowerbeds or hardscape should be grass, and that leads to weird little bits of lawn that are a pain in the butt to mow. I like small lawns with a nice curving edge. I think you should plan the shape of the lawn for practicality and beauty and fill the rest of the area with hardscape or planting beds. Mulch is easy to maintain.

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  9. Love those old push mowers. We had one when I was a kid. I remember mowing patterns to use as a floor plan for a make-believe house. Today, I let my husband do the honors with the motorized version. But, oh, those old days when the only sound was rather pleasant snickety-snick of the blades going round and round. Alice Lynn

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  10. Lawns are even sillier down here in Australia--the drought prone country. With water prices surging upwards, I think people will consider alternatives. Let's hope so.

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  11. love this post, i hate lawns!!!!

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