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Lawns – Less Than Heavenly

The below (source unknown) still makes laugh – and sigh. And cry. After all, it was back in 1991 that Michael Pollen, author of Second Nature, declared that lawns are “a symbol of everything that is wrong with our relationship to the land.”

Since then, we’ve realized that back and front yard gardens of vegetables and wild flowers are more both more sustainable and more nourishing than green grass. We’v learned that pesticide companies re-named plants like clover, “weeds” to sell more product and that lawn grass in general is not natural or native in most places.

So, what is our lawn status today? Well, capitalism continues as more green landscape tools, watering systems and businesses emerge, which was a start, but the idea of the “lawn” is still too alive and too well in the U.S.. Despite the fact that we know we kill 7 million birds each year – along with earthworms and other beneficial pests – with pesticides applied to lawns. Despite the fact that as the demand for potable water continues to increase, yet we are using 30% of it to water lawns. Places like Dallas, TX, use 60% – !! And, as landfill space becomes scarce, we now know that 20 – 50 % of that space is filled with yard waste – in plastic bags.

Heard enough?

Enjoy the below and pass it around your neighborhood.


God: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff? I created a perfect no-maintenance garden plan – plants that grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply. The nectar from those long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and birds. All I see now are these green rectangles.

St. Francis: It’s the “Suburbanite” tribes. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass that they go to great lengths to keep green. They begin each spring with fertilizing and poisoning the other plants that show up.

God: Grass? How boring. It’s not colorful, is sensitive to drought and temperatures. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds or bees. Well, the grass does grow fast, that must make these Suburbanites happy.

St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it – sometimes twice a week.

God: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up, put it in bags and pay to have it taken away.

God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the Summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. At least that slows the growth and saves them all that work.

St. Francis: Actually, when it rains less, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water the grass so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

God: At least they kept some trees – which provide beauty and shade in Summer, and then provides a natural blanket of fallen leaves in the Fall to keep moisture in the soil and protect the roots. A stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.

St. Francis: You better sit down, Lord. As soon as the leaves Fall, the Suburbanites rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away. Then they go out and buy something they called mulch, which they spread out in place of the leaves.

God: Where do they get this mulch?

St. Francis: They cut down trees and grind them up.

God: I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

St. Catherine: “Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a story about…

God: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

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4 Responses to “Lawns – Less Than Heavenly”

  1. Sami Grover Says:

    Hahaa – priceless. I’m a little confused by the perfect lawn brigade too – although there is something about some nice short grass to sit, play frisbee on etc – it always seems so much more beautiful if it is surrounded by gardens, trees, wildflowers or whatever.

    For those not willing to go entirely lawn-free, TreeHugger just did a post on reel mowers – quieter, cleaner, cheaper and you get exercise in the process. Come to think of it, given you wouldn’t want to mow 16 acres with one of these, maybe they also provide incentive to keep our lawns to a manageable size.

    Scythes are also making a comeback in the UK:

  2. Roger Hartsell Says:

    Ah yes the lawn issue. I am totally bummed and confused by what I see around. There’s at least one “up-scale” neighborhood that, no matter what time of year, will have crews of lawn professionals, raking and spraying and mowing at least weekly. Heaven forbid that a stray leaf stay on their green lawn for more than a day. Armies of workers, with the weapons of war against imperfect lawns, blowers, trimmers, mowers, sprayers, diligently manicure these lawns. Constantly. My one next door neighbor is a landscape architect, so his yard is a “showplace” of neatness. At least, the last 2 years, he has been planting edibles in the front. I think this is showing customers how it can be done. Kudos for that. My other neighbor is just OCD.
    I am thoroughly amused when someone says they are going to create a “natural area” in their yard. All you have to do is leave it alone~!
    And the biggest offender? Golf courses!
    <3 Weeds!

  3. Lori Says:

    I just had to share with you a great quote on this very subject.

    “Lawns are nature purged of sex or death. No wonder Americans like them so much.”
    – Michael Pollan

  4. phyllisdiehl Says:

    thanks for another perfect “teaching” moment. i enjoy the wild stuff also. my favorite wild flower was called “blackeyed susan” i wish i could see it again. good information and loved the quotes

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