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.