There are many things we have come to accept that really are either unacceptable or just don’t make sense. Things like not being able to eat fish from our rivers, the addiction to throw away tableware and getting to the point of this article, our obsession with golf course lawns. Here’s a quick crash course on the history of the lawn: (New York Times   August 9th, 2019)

*Early European colonists brought animals that ate all the native grass in their region and soon brought in European seed to plant more grass for animal feed such as Kentucky Bluegrass.

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*Washington and Jefferson fell in love with this crazy thing really rich Europeans were doing where they cut their grass short and planted things to look at instead of eat. There were no lawnmowers, so to create that over-the-pond aristocratic look, many of America’s wealthiest had their grasses cut manually.

*Early 1800’s clothing mill technology sparked the idea for the first lawnmowing machine, a literal push mower although it wasn’t built until near the post mid-century. At this point all wealthy Americans begin to make the manicured lawn a staple in their showy gilded lifestyles. Developers begin designing neighborhoods after parks (the first parks here were cemeteries), all of which incorporated… landscaping. With a massive increase in railways, a   campaign was began to  encourage people to have these kinds of lawns as a way to impress passerby’s. It is implied that one’s town could be perceived as being undesirable if not.

*1920’s America falls in love with golf while the USDA actually gets in the market of coming up with better grass for golf and the growing interest in landscaping.

*The post WWII suburban housing explosion (fueled by the Interstate system & VA loans) created       America’s mid 20th Century middle class suburbanite society and it was all about show including the lawn. Lawnmowers, check. Higher income levels, check.   Chemicals, check. This era of history has an agricultural term associated with it, The Green Revolution. This is not to be confused with the word green used today to connotate environmentally friendly practices. The Green Revolution refers to the green of monocrops grown en masse by using chemical stockpiles left over after WWII and utilizing chemical advances discovered during wartime research .

Our obsession with perfectly manicured golf course like lawns has resulted in a weekender war on many beneficial pollinator plants. This is all too often accomplished with the use of chemicals that not only kill pollinators and harm the birds and amphibians that eat them, but are often known carcinogens increasing the risks of human illnesses such as cancer and Parkinson’s.

Living in a neighborhood with lawn regulations, or even a neighborhood with intolerable neighbors can make the desire to have a natural yard impossible. There is however a growing movement to embrace eco-friendly landscaping. One HOA, city ordinance, or conversation at a time. 

Dandelion tidbits:

Dandelions:

Are native to Eurasia and were brought to North America by 17th Century colonists.

Are only considered invasive in Alaska and Oregon.

Were used medicinally to treat infections and digestive issues.

Are an excellent food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies as well as many animals.

~TheJamesRiver.org

Human uses:

Leaves in salads or cooked as greens.

Petals in desserts, teas, wine and jelly.

Roots in teas or salads ~Garden Know How

A benefit to soil:

Dandelion roots help break up compact soil

Dandelions add calcium and reduced acid to soil when they break down. ~Addicted to Gardening

Meaningful Living

Audrey L Elder