The L word

The L word

25th July 2015226Views4Comments
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From Jim Charlier’s garden: fun with the idea of a lawn

Two days before Earth Day, my regular segment on our local NPR station was aired. I don’t come on as a gardening expert; I am part of a rotation of local editors and media types who chat about issues their publications are covering. We talked about gardening because my magazine always has gardening content, and May’s issue has more than usual. In it, I did an in/out list that included

Out: Adirondack chairs (more wishful thinking—they are becoming so ubiquitous and I find them uncomfortable)
In: Garden tools that let you use your feet (I am finding myself using more tools that let me stand up rather than the hand tools)
In: Reused/salvaged materials used in paving, raised beds,  and other hardscaping (this has been big in Buffalo for a while)
Out: Fairy gardens (as opposed to miniature gardens, though again, wishful thinking)

And so on.

We talked about some of that, but eventually my host asked me about his lawn; he had stopped using weedkillers and other chemical aids on it when his kids were small, but now, with them out of the house, he had gone back to them. I guess he just hates dandelions. There was no time to go into all the alternatives, so I just suggested more tolerance. I don’t have any turfgrass, but my friends who do tell me they just mow whatever is there, weeds and all. That’s the easiest way. Or, I guess there are products like these.

But what I also said is that—with all the problems in our lakes and rivers that we’re struggling to remediate already—I just see any justification for spraying or pouring questionable treatments that, in the grand scheme of things, just aren’t worth it. That’s about as far as I can go with this discussion, except for being really, really glad I never have to deal with the L word myself.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on April 22, 2014 at 8:34 am, in the category Garden-natural Airwaves, Shut Up and Dig.


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  1. Right on! Replacing all lawn with garden is usually more work, but loosening up about lawn perfection means LESS WORK, people! Plus, way better for waterways, kids, dogs, etc etc.
    But I say no-no-no to the idea that Adirondacks will ever go out of style or become uncomfortable! Maybe they’re overdone where you are, so close to the mountains in question. Around DC they’re rare. I’m on my second batch (now made of recycled plastic, so no rotting) and still admire the design, esp the wide flat arms that eliminate the need for side tables. Brilliant, classic. I could go on.

  2. I had those wonderful made in USA recycled plastic Adirondack chairs–only $19!!! But you get what you pay for, as they only lasted one season.
    It makes me ill that people dump poison on their property to have perfect grass.

  3. Love this piece! When you “mow whatever grows” I call it a freedom lawn. There are now seed mixes for lawns that include low-growing flowers among the grass. No more broadleaf “weed” killers, more diversity, more habitat for pollinators and pest predators, and foliage color through a longer season. This idea is catching on in public grounds as well as private.

  4. Love that “mow whatever grows” phrase! That’s what we have. So far lawn man, aka spouse, has done nothing this season. Whereas crazy garden lady (me), has been a weeding fiend and spreading loads of compost and hand pulling leaves from ground cover beds. Don’t tell me lawns are more work.

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