I have to admit, when I saw the title of this book, I thought that the author would be talking about something within the lawn, I didn’t know that he would be talking about the lawn itself in general. But then, the theory of a lawn is new to me, coming from a place where having a front lawn was near to impossible. Although there is plenty of grass in Hong Kong, the hilly terrain makes it so that many houses are lucky to have any space between the cliff in back, and the road in front.
The idea that a lawn is a cultural symbol was interesting because it seems to symbolize man’s dominance over the land. The way I see it, if couldn’t control a small patch of greenery, and keep it perfect for display, than you couldn’t control anything. I can see why people would take such an interest in their lawns. A lawn is like a billboard, telling visitors what kind of person you could be. Fro example, if your lawn is always neat and tidy, it reflects on you, but if your lawn is overgrown, it might show that you are wild or maybe forgetful. I’ve always wondered why people would use chemicals on their lawns. All you get from things like that is problems, as shown in first chapter, when Suzanne complains about how her dog reacted to the chemicals she used on her lawn. So why did she still use those chemicals? And for that matter, why does everyone use the same type of grass? I suppose public opinion is the culprit here. No one wants to be singled out by their neighbors and a lawn that looks different is like a target. That may be why people will always try to make their lawn tidy.
Lawns may be a symbol of pride, but that doesn’t mean we need to turn it into a mono-culture universe. I say we do our lawns naturally. Grass is good for a lawn, but why not keep it local? Local grass can still be mowed, and it saves us the trouble of finding turf for it. Weeds? Sure they may be a problem is left uncontrolled, but you don’t need to cut every one you see. Remember, that weeds can provide habitats for various species. If we pick the weeds, we deny them a home. Chemicals? Who needs’em! Lawns can grow fine without their help. If we have to use chemicals to get rid of pests, shouldn’t we at least wait in order to make sure there is a need for them before we start spraying every blade of grass in out yards?
The demand for the perfect lawn appears to be so similar to the demand for rain forest wood that i makes me laugh. It’s just a patch of green, a miniature environment. Stomp on it or roll around with your kids if you want, but let it grow on its own. You can mow it when you are sure the grass is long enough, not before! And are sprays really necessary?
(This sign should be on every lawn)
As for the book itself, I found it informative, but not very interesting to read, like some of the other books. Like I said, I come from a place where a front lawn could only be afforded by few. I found the chapter on lawn alternatives interesting, because it talks about planting local species instead of imported grass. (I didn’t even know that much of the grass on our lawns isn’t even local!). I liked the charts and graphs as they were able to give me a better picture about what Paul Robbins was trying to tell me.
In summary, this book wasn’t very interesting to me, but maybe someone else would disagree, someone who actually HAS a lawn.