Robbins comments that we, as humans, see ourselves as creatures of choice. This is most notably in America. We show this choose in our environmental decisions like drive, walk or take the bus; recycle or toss it in the trash; or, put chemicals on our lawns or go natural. Within this control is the forming of our own landscapes and, inherently, show a reflection of our culture.
“Landscapes are those assemblages of buildings, plants, machines, infrastructure, light, color, and should provide the backdrop for our myriad daily actions- can be viewed as being shaped by human action, but usually in the constantly reinforced patterns of our larger community.”
I think that there is an odd similarity to our lawns in this country. When driving through the suburbs the lawns are more than likely all the same. The manicured, green lawns with the parallel lines the lawn mower creates, a sprinkling of flowers, a tree and some bushes and perhaps a lawn ornament or two.
ach lawn is similar and yet different; in a similar way. There are “special” things that we my place in our lawns like bird baths, gazing balls, plastic flamingos, cut-outs of woman gardening and showing there underwear, deer, ducks that you can dress for all the sessions and occasions, fountains, the Virgin Mary, St. Francis of Assisi, stately lions and, my personal favorite, the garden gnome. These chincy lawn decorations are allowed in the bounds of our yards and are somewhat expected. I would love to take a survey of how many well manicured lawns were lacking an ornament of some sort. My argument is that our society uses lawn ornaments as a way to make our lawns unique, but because of our societal restrictions (cars, trash or couches are not seen by most of society as approved decorative items) on what we can place on our lawns we are once again forced into conformity.
Near my house in Dayton there was a woman who would place toys in her trees. Her odd behavior in choosing these decorations led the local kids to refer to her as Crazy Mary. Rumors were abundant with the most prominent being that she went crazy after her child died and hung his or her toys in the tree. Others believed that the toys were there to entice children to come onto her lawn so she could kidnap them. Even if these rumors were completely false, people still made assumptions about her because of her yard. She choose to flaunt societal roles and in so doing had to face the rumors and assumptions.
When decorating a Christmas tree we are essentially covering a tree in toys. Why is it okay for us to put toys in trees during Christmas time yet no longer okay when it is moved out-of-doors and into a maple tree?
As with lawn ornaments there is an expected amount of lawn care home owners must do. If our grass gets too tall we may receive a letter from the town telling us to cut it “or else”. If we have a broken car in the driveway the city will tell us to move it. Have a strong urge to hang dolls from trees? The city will tell us to take them down (as Dayton did to Crazy Mary). Until we allow ourselves to have lawns that do not need to be manicured we will continue pumping chemicals into the environment and be part of the constant struggle between being environmentally friendly and fitting into society.
Interesting web pages: