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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Grass is Greener?

Ever since I moved into our suburban NJ neighborhood, I've felt out of place.  Our neighborhood has rows of neatly manicured lawns with little plastic flags flying throughout the year, declaring their freedom from weeds and pests.  And then there's my lawn, welcoming to "pests" and dandelions happily shining their sunny faces in the breeze.  But I hate walking past those little flags with my kids, with their warnings to keep kids and pets away, as though we are intruding on a space where we don't belong.

I just started reading the book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart.  So far I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  Imagine my delight when I came across their description of a modern lawn on pg. 33:
"The average lawn is an interesting beast:  people plant it, then douse it with artificial fertilizers and dangerous pesticides to make it grow and to keep it uniform -- all so that they can hack and mow what they encouraged to grow.  And woe to the small yellow flower that rears its head!"
 The saddest part of my lawn is that the more natural I try to let it be, the less marketable and desirable our house becomes.  Most people who live here don't seem to be into the natural state of things very much.  I have already had neighbors' lawn companies sprinkling their chemicals onto my lawn so that nothing from my wild side spreads to their tamed one.  So before I start with my xeriscaping plans, I need to be sure that we will be living here long enough to make it doable.

But every time I pass a dandelion, I will smile and cheer and be thankful for its sunny disposition and the fact that it is a fighter and a survivor.  And I'll hope it's naturally sunny disposition starts to spread....


  1. Dandelions make good wine. Perhaps if you pluck a few of your 'sunnies' you can make a tasty treat that will help you forget about your neighbors. :)

  2. Down here in Maryland no one notices what the other one's lawn looks like....they think dandelions are little yellow flowers growing in the lawn :)