COLUMN: There’s no love in this lawn affair

Judging from the proliferation of brown lawns around this city, it seems most folks get the water conservation measure ...

On Point by Andrew Holota

Judging from the proliferation of brown lawns around this city, it seems most folks get the water conservation measure – other than a handful of gotta-be-green fanatics.

As I observed in a column about a decade ago, some folks really do have a love affair with their lawns.

I do not. Our relationship would better be described as a cold arranged marriage.

I didn’t ask for my lawn. It came with the house, as most do.

It’s not that I dislike lawns. It’s just that it has all the standard annoying lawn characteristics.

During the rainy seasons, i.e. most of the year, it grows faster than credit card debt. It has serious moss issues, which isn’t an issue at present, because everything is dead – except the couch grass, which I’m sure could grow on the moon. In fact, that would be a fine place for it, rather than infesting my lawn.

I’m one of those people who, having done something, likes it to stay done.

Lawns are never done.

For someone who treasures his free time, the lawn is a major nuisance.

I must acknowledge that my wife does most of the mowing, since I do the cooking. However, all other lawn and garden maintenance falls to me.

It would be better if I had inherited my father’s love of nurturing all things green.

I swear he knew exactly how many blades of grass he had, and monitored their individual states of being.

And he guarded his greenery with ferocious determination.

Dandelions did not have a chance on his property. Couch grass didn’t even dare to encroach on his lawn. It would have been terminated with extreme prejudice.

Mole hills were an unspeakable offence against all that was right and proper. He used to sit outside for hours, shotgun in his lap, waiting for the lawn-defacing little buggers to starting pushing up another mound, and Boom!

(There were some things you could do on a farm that just would not have been acceptable in suburban surroundings.)

Eventually, a move to a more closely populated setting ruled out artillery, so he switched to hunting moles with a garden hose.

That was rather ironic, since I never saw him water his lawn, bless his sensible soul. Being on well water dictated a conservative and practical approach to water use.

It was a self-imposed ban on sprinkling – city regulations unrequired.

Actually, I’m rather pleased about those. We bought a home in a neighbourhood with a lot of very good-looking lawns. Many of them are pampered by professional lawn care service providers.

It means I have to care about my lawn more than ever before.

And if there weren’t city regulations banning lawn sprinkling, it would mean I would be the only guy on the block with a lawn in desert camouflage.

Either that, or I would be feeling extremely guilty about wasting water to keep up with the Joneses. However, I am happy to say my neighbours also have lawns that look as though they were imported from Sudan.

Until fall, that is. Then they’ll all be back to fastidious trimming, and fertilizing and declaring war on every species of green growing things that are not in the Kentucky Blue gene pool.

And, alas, so will I.

In the early 2000s, someone wrote a book called How To Get Your Lawn Off Grass.

It suggests there are many ways to dress up the property surrounding your house without committing to the lawn love affair. There are all sorts of attractive plants that don’t mind dry conditions, and they stay short without having to be mechanically decapitated every five days.

Or how about rocks?

You don’t have to mow rocks or water them. And they look good with moss.

I wonder what the neighbours would think if I converted my lawn into riverbed.

Andrew Holota is the editor of The Abbotsford News.

 

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