Sunday, October 4, 2009

The evil American lawn

At the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

I'm all for vegetables (I just can't bring myself to say's not a word) and kitchen gardens, but the current anti-lawn fascism promulgated by Lawn Nazis - who probably only exist in the super-alert cybersphere - is disagreeable.

I remember many good things about my childhood garden. And lawns and vegetables are tied for fondness. There is nothing, nothing, I say, as good as green grass for running over or rolling on. And the smell of freshly snipped zucchini can't compete with the green dampness on summer nights of a lawn exhaling after its weekly mowing.

Let the lawns live.


  1. Yes, there is nothing wrong with a well kept lawn in the right place. Why do people pick on the lawn? It's lawns that are put in the wrong place. It's the plant to go with for lots of landscapers who don't have any imagination.

    I like a well placed lawn. Good for lying down, and watching the clouds roll by.

  2. Totally agree. For me lawns are quiet spaces. They're non. Provide visual relief. And I confess a weakness for lawn paths - the ultimate barefoot pleasure.

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  4. While I, too, love a good lawn, I must admit I get cranky with the Australian approach, which is to shave it to within an inch of its life every week, bury it in fertiliser then waste water on it until it's Saturday again.

  5. Hi Trey - yes, context is everything.

    Hi Marijks! Well, your lawn in your garden is a lovely place, like a green pool.

    Dinahmow, you're right: when they are traps for scarce water of course they are not a good idea. Nor is all that fertilizer. But there are alternatives. It's their demonizing that irks me. But perhaps such over-reaction is the only way for it to filter down to the hoi polloi.

  6. Walking on grass is a way of getting really really close to it. The feeling of grass tickling under your bare feet is good. And then there's the smell of freshly cut lawn. And the coolness. And the life.

  7. Like mother like daughter. Can't stand "veggies" or worse, "veg"

  8. I have just finished reading William Boyd's Restless, in one character eulogises classic English lawns that have never seen a mower, are cropped only by sheep, and are shaggy with a multitude of different grasses and flowers. I'm not sure we're really familiar with that kind of lawn any more, or if we have the courage to use the word now for anything that is not a botanical monologue. Of course they have their virtues - but I have still come to despise the standard South African lawn, kikuyu, always waiting to escape and spread, and swamp all before it, drowning any persisting wild spaces in our cities.


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