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Archive for the ‘lawns’ Category

I know I’m a garden geek, but I can’t help myself. My garden is finally looking really nice, and I am getting all kinds of positive comments from neighbours. Of the rest of the houses on my street, most now have squares of brown, dormant grass, thanks to the heat. The few that are green are absolute water hogs. My garden is green and lush and beautiful, and I don’t water it at all. Yeah for perennial gardens!

This is what my Shasta Daisies looked like as I was leaving for vacation, with all the buds just about out:

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This is what it looked like when I got home:

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Pretty little pansies:

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My African Daisies, after finishing their blooming from when I first bought them, suddenly stopped budding at all. I was resigned to nice green plants until I came home to discover the plants had grown significantly and were producing dozens of new buds. This is the first one to bloom:

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Daylilies:

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Real lily:

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My flax has stopped blooming, which is weird because it is supposed to bloom all summer, but it isn’t so bad, because of the hundreds of seed pods:

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of a fucked-up planet.

I live in the burbs. You know – house after similar house, each with a two-car garage and square of lawn out front. J was fearful as we moved into this neighbourhood and I eyed the chunk of grass and started mulling over all the more interesting things that could take it’s place. He feared we’d be tossed out for disobeying the unwritten rules of suburbia (and written ones, for that matter, because this place actually has a bylaw against putting up a clothes line. How stupid is that? But they failed to take into consideration the possibility of a clothesline umbrella, so that is what I now have).

As I mentioned before, our perfect, chemically-supported lawn lasted mere months under our lack of care, making way for my perennial garden to begin. It makes it easy for people to find our house. “Just look for the garden instead of the lawn,” I tell people. It’s the only one

Every other house has a lawn and little flower plot or two against the house or around the tree. Some don’t even have that – just the grass right up to the concrete under the window. It is ugly and barren and I can’t figure out why these people, many who don’t even have children, bother to live in the burbs at all. If you aren’t using your outside space, what is the point?

Since Jasper has arrived, I have noticed a significant difference in the lawns on our block. Some are perfect squares of uniform grass blades. Others are filled with weeds and cut short to hide the fact. Many are fighting constant battles with the Japanese beetle grub. They reseed and resod every year. Two lawns just a few houses down are most interesting because they butt right up against each other with no visible dividing line between them. But one is just all crabgrass cut very short and the other is pristine Kentucky bluegrass with nary a weed in sight. There is a perfect line right down the middle between the two. On one side it is all weed and the other, none. The no-weed guy must pour tons of chemicals into that lawn to keep those weeds from encroaching on his side. It is a very weird sight.

Since our back yard isn’t fenced in, we walk Jasper so he can pee, and I noticed not long ago that some of the lawns along our route were showing tell-tale dog-pee spots – a small circle of dead grass with the grass growing longer and greener around it. Dog pee is basically fertilizer, but it is so concentrated that it burns the grass it comes in direct contact with while making the grass that only gets a bit very happy.

I wondered if it only took a single pee by my dog to produce such damage, so I started keeping and eye on his pee spots and varying where we walked to reduce the possibility of damage. Which is when I realized that different lawns react very differently to the pee.

Weedy, neglected lawns show little or no damage. There’s a beautiful lawn down the street with long dark grass and when you get close to it, you can see that it is actually about two-thirds grass and one-third clover (which is what is recommended for a healthy, chemical-free lawn). It doesn’t burns either. The lawns that burn the worst are the perfect ones, without a weed in sight. I think that those lawns are only perfect because their owners are using gallons of fertilizer and herbicides to get them to look that way. Then the dog comes along and adds just a little bit more fertilizer onto the highly-fertilized lawn and causes an immediate overdose – wham! overdosed, dead grass.

It’s …. it’s … wrong. What kind of idiot cannot see that a lawn that needs constant chemical support to stay alive isn’t healthy? It has no defenses whatsoever. And it is ugly to boot. Why are there still people who think this is a good idea?

I know it is a small thing, but I have no doubt that the perfect-lawn people are also the sort that only buy perfect-looking fruit in the grocery store and I’ll even go so far as to say that I don’t think the fact that these same households hardly put out any recycling, just a huge garbage bag, is an coincidence. The guy closest to us also washes his outside steps and driveway with the hose -just pours perfectly good water onto his driveway to wash away dirt, and it takes everything in me to not yell to him that it is a driveway and is outside and stop wasting so much water!

But instead I just sit there, quietly weeding my garden, and I make sure to avoid letting Jasper near his lawn and stay nice and quiet, because I wouldn’t want to be thrown out of the burbs, would I?

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