Now I believe in habitat protection, as well as the right of all species to survive and thrive. Therefore, my front yard could be mistaken as a habitat preserve for dandelions.
Have you heard about these communities that have lawn ordinances. Chattanooga, TN has one that reads like this…Any growth of weeds to a height of over ten (10) inches and any rank vegetable growth which harbors mosquitoes or emits unpleasant and noxious odors on any premises in the city is hereby declared to be a nuisance. In Springfield, MA you are not allowed to let your grass grow 6 inches or longer, if you do it goes against their "Good Neighbor" ordinance and you can get fined $50. All this talk about lawn length can make me feel claustrophobic as if my lawn represents my civic membership and commitment to the community at large.
I awoke early last spring at 5am due to racing thoughts of my personal state of the union, as well as my elderly 15 year old dog who was pacing back and forth in desperate need to relieve herself. As I helped Sammy to the front door and then down the front stairs I noticed my neighbor in his skivvies on his front porch inspecting my lawn. Now I believe in habitat protection, as well as the right of all species to survive and thrive. Therefore, my front yard could be mistaken as a habitat preserve for dandelions. My house is the 5th house on the block and for 10 years prior to my purchasing powers, it was a rental, thus leaving the lawn in a slight state of disrepair. The neighbors were very excited to learn that I intended to use this property as an owner occupied parcel. The other four houses have invested greatly in their prize lawns by installing underground watering systems, hiring lawn maintenance companies, installing permanent edging, and the list goes on. I on the other hand have a $50 lawn mower purchased at a yard sale, which tends to work every other summer. I gave a wave and a good morning to Wally as I held Sammy’s hind end up as she relieved herself. He nodded and turned to walk back into his house.
Sometimes I look at my lawn and think, my life really is a mess, I can’t even get my lawn to look good. I sit and compare it to the perfect lawns around, wondering how much money I would have to make to have a lawn like theirs. Wondering why I didn’t marry Derrick when I was 25, because if I had I surely would have had a lawn that would pass the Chattanooga ordinance as well as the Springfield, MA Good Neighbor ordinance. I wouldn’t find Wally inspecting my lawn, shaking his head, at 5am on a Tuesday morning, questioning my civic patriotism.
Now, I have a plan for my lawn, which is to get rid of as much grass as possible, and turn my front yard into an edible landscape to be enjoyed by all. I began this process three years ago, digging up 3 feet of grass bordering the front fence. I planted peas along the fence with onions, leeks, and flowers behind. As the peas began to weave their way through the chain links, I would find Wally inspecting my rustic new garden. One day he came over to me as I was weeding the quack grass away from the base of the pea plants. “People are going to pick your peas and eat them if you grow them there.” “I hope so. “ I replied. “You want people eating your peas? There won’t be any for you.” Said Wally. “Well, I like the idea of people enjoying what I grow. Sharing in good fresh food.” This is precisely the reason I didn’t marry Derrick. He would be wondering what the shareholder would be thinking about my choice, worried that they may be upset with his wife’s produce philanthropy. Wally put his hand on his hip, moved the brim of his baseball cap from left to right and said, “Well, have a good day.” I returned to weeding the peas, glad that one day, I won’t ever have to smell the essence of fresh cut grass wafting from my lawn.