Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's Up with Lawns Anyways?!

The other day I got somewhat perturbed with lawns. Why do we have them? The grass commonly used is not native to North America, and therefore requires a lot of water to keep it green. So why are we wasting all this water on these lawns that do not feed us, do not provide much of any sort of habitat for bees, butterflies and other insects, AND we spend hours mowing them using often gas (do I need to rant about this?) or electrical (not really an environmental alternative unless actually generated using renewable source) mowers.

After having my own little freak-out I decided to research the topic and find out why we have so many of these darn lawns in Canada!

So here it is:

"The lawn" originates in Europe (surprise, surprise), which makes ecological sense because the grasses grow best in less extreme climates. Lawns were associated with wealth, golf and lawn bowling.

Slowly, as the rich and the famous of North America took vacations over in England, Scotland, and France they began to want lawns in North America, mostly so they could play golf and lawn bowling here. So, in 1915, the US Department of Agriculture and the US Golf Association (yes there's such a thing, crazy!!) collaborated to create the right combinations of grasses that would be suitable (with a lot of watering, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides of course) for the North American climate.

But still this lawn business didn't get picked up by the masses till the industrial revolution and invention of the rotary lawn mower and watering hose. These two inventions made it possible for the average Joe or Jill to have there very own lawn, YIPPEE!! However, there was still not much desire for lawns until...the American Garden Club applied the peer pressure. They said that it was one's civic duty to have a well kept lawn...and well we all know how effective peer pressure is. So lawns began to emerge everywhere. And as cities got bigger and people couldn't have their own lawns we created communal lawns called PARKS! I'm not going to get into suburbs though, thats a whole other ball game!

Wasn't that fascinating? I thought it was. Lets make lawns extinct!

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