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Tony Grist

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Lawns [Jul. 30th, 2016|11:11 am]
Tony Grist
The lawn is a beautifully understated English way of saying, "Look how fucking rich I am!"

Large areas of monotonously green, inedible grass are beautiful. Or that's what successive generations of landscape gardeners told successive generations of weak-minded landowners. Lancelot Capability Brown- or someone like him- started the rot- and it quickly spread worldwide because if the English milords were doing it it had to be the thing to do.

Actually  an unmown meadow full of wildflowers, or a field of waving corn is far lovelier, but...

Neither of these things proclaim wealth quite so brazenly and wastefully.

The man with the lawn is letting you know he has lots of land but doesn't need to put it into cultivation because his vast income is derived from his West Indian slave plantations other sources. Also that he has cash to throw away on mowing and weeding and watering and rolling. A lawn doesn't keep itself, you know.

Lawns are good for playing croquet and tennis on and gliding over in swooshy dresses. Otherwise....

***********

I've got lawns on the mind because ours is being turned into a scale model of the Bernese Oberland by moles. My mother when she still cared about such things used to call in the moletrapper but I like the moles- with their fine disregard for 18th century aesthetic norms- and what I do is to go out with my spade and little wheelbarrow and remove their earthworks. It leaves a bit of a mess behind but, well, see above for my feelings on the subject.  What a lot of soil the moles do raise! I fill my barrow and then next day I fill it again. I wonder the lawn doesn't collapse into the galleries they've dug.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2016-07-30 12:51 pm (UTC)
In THIS country, when we have a drought and water shortage I wonder how people have the nerve to have a green lawn - wasting water on making their grass pretty.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-30 01:00 pm (UTC)
I agree. People waste water on lawns over here as well- only not so much because of all the rain we get.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2016-07-30 01:11 pm (UTC)
Pollinators are starving. We have a serious biodiversity problem. There is no excuse for lawns.

G'wan those moles!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-30 06:11 pm (UTC)
Lawns are a habit we've fallen into without really thinking about it...
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[User Picture]From: kamomil
2016-07-30 01:40 pm (UTC)
Our lawn is mostly brown. It will go dormant during the height of the summer and the lack of rain doesn't help. I don't mind because I don't have to mow it every week

It's easier than a garden front lawn, any spare topsoil is colonized by weeds fairly quickly
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-30 06:11 pm (UTC)
I like weeds.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2016-07-30 02:38 pm (UTC)
Small lawns are kid and dog friendly - I'd much rather have a lawn than decking.

But huge big lawns the size of fields, mowed in a chequerboard pattern, and people who spend their weekends to-and-fro-ing on motor mowers... Why would you do this when you could have a wild flower meadow?
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[User Picture]From: kamomil
2016-07-30 06:03 pm (UTC)
I know right? A waste of time and money but I guess that's the point of having one, to show it off
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-30 06:13 pm (UTC)
Decking is horrible. J'accuse Alan Titchmarsh.

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[User Picture]From: porsupah
2016-07-30 02:55 pm (UTC)
Whilst the motivation is as you suggest, I wouldn't write their aesthetic value off: they're simply a more formal, deliberate expression than a meadow, akin to formal dance vs clubbing.

And I have many leporine acquaintances who would disagree on the topic of grass and edibility. =:)

I do wish, however, that people with actual lawns would mow them properly, with a cylinder mower, to yield that delightful striping. ^_^ Quieter than any powered mower, too.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-30 06:15 pm (UTC)
Our lawn feeds a lot of rabbits. It's one of its redeeming qualities.
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2016-07-30 04:46 pm (UTC)
My Mom really loves having some green lawn. She feels that it gives the eye "rest" from the other landscaping in the yard (flowers gardens, shrubs, etc.)

I'm kinda "eh" on lawn. I'd rather have more flowers, or more veggies.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-30 06:16 pm (UTC)
I'm not big on any kind of gardening. I'm more interested in what nature gets up to when we leave it alone.
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[User Picture]From: basefinder
2016-07-30 06:05 pm (UTC)

The grass is always greener over the septic tank

Here in the U.S. we have a similar worship of large, perfectly colored lawns. Water shortages have taken some of the edge off the mandate of green perfection, though on the three occasions when I owned a home there were local rules in place about keeping it cut short -- or else the city would fine you, send a crew to cut it, and bill you for the effort. The occasional brazen homeowner who would dare to "meadow" the front yard would be criticized, chastised, and possibly fined--all in the name of uniformity and property values.

I get that a reasonably sized lawn is a great place to play and relax, especially for kids, but there are probably millions of acres of lawns that are only touched by human feet when it is time to mow, water, fertilize, or weed.

I consider the lack of a lawn a benefit to renting an apartment.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-30 06:25 pm (UTC)

Re: The grass is always greener over the septic tank

I'm reminded of the opening sequence of Blue Velvet where the camera dives down into a typical lush suburban lawn to uncover insects doing awful things to one another...
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2016-07-30 09:45 pm (UTC)
Personally I think I'd just rake over the mole hills, rather than waste energy carting the soil away...

My own lawn is dotted with holes from voles, and that's okay. I don't like it anyway and only keep it because it's nice to have SOME lawn for throwing down a blanket and reading in the sun - or having an al fresco lunch or a game of croquet.

Most of my "lawn" isn't mowed. It looks rather messy this year, but I hope in time the sturdier grasses will prevail so I can have a proper meadow and then a narrow strip of lawn. I already have a real miniature meadow full of white chervil down behind the greenhouse; it's an area of the garden where I've literally not set foot since I took possession of this house in December - and I think the previous owner had also given up on that corner of the garden. It's rather beautiful in June, though!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-31 08:21 am (UTC)
I don't cart the soil very far- only to the nearest flower bed.

And there's so much of it.

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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2016-07-31 07:03 am (UTC)
Moss and camomile are both more interesting than grass, imho.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-07-31 08:22 am (UTC)
We have quite a lot of moss in the mix these days. Plus a lot of wildflowers that show their faces between the (infrequent) mowings.
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[User Picture]From: artkouros
2016-07-31 10:05 pm (UTC)
I didn't know there was such a thing as inedible grass. My sister is a master gardener and has her home in the Dallas area done up with drought tolerant and native plants. During part of the year it's amazingly nice looking, and during other parts it's the opposite. She catches rain in barrels and uses only that for watering. And somehow manages to attract rabbits and hawks and every kind of bird, and still spends less time working on her yard than most.
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