Why Do We Consider a Neatly Trimmed Lawn the Pinnacle of What the Ground Should Be?

The other night, mowing my lawn for the first time this spring, I was instantly transported back to my childhood. "I love that smell," I later said to my fiancée, and didn't have to explain; we were two suburban-raised Minnesota kids for whom the scent of freshly cut grass has long confirmed winter's end. Like many an American teenager, I had a monopoly on mowing my neighborhood's lawns, coming home most summer days with inch-long clippings clinging to socks and grass-stained shoes. I learned to see the perfect lawn as a lush monochrome carpet of Kentucky bluegrass, trimmed and deep green.I see the perfect lawn differently now. I still see the wide expanses of green, but I also see the high cost of keeping these non-native monocultures growing: the wasted water, the overuse of fossil-fuel fertilizers, the threats to human and environmental health, even to the health of our dogs. Most of all, I see untapped opportunity.  Continue reading...

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