Please note that throughout this article, I will lighten the text by formulating all sentences in the “I” singular. However, in all sentences in the first person singular with the verb “to mow”, please note that I’m not talking about myself, but about my partner. I don’t mow the lawn. I’m a princess. I repeat: I do not mow the lawn!
When I Mow the Lawn… (Hihi!)
… That’s because the grass is REALLY long and it’s hard to get around. Otherwise, I let nature take its course! Much to the dismay of my neighbors, who all have green, even lawns, free of dandelions and dead leaves (and I live in the country!).
Why do I wait so long to put the tractor through this hay? Well, for several reasons. The first being that my boyfriend is lazy… er… I mean, I’m lazy! (Phew! That was a close one!).
On a more serious note, I don’t subscribe to the cult of the perfect short lawn. Quite simply. I don’t see the point of having a uniform green carpet that requires so much maintenance. Mow, fertilize, mow, mow, water, mow, seed, water, mow, weedkill (seriously?), mow, rake leaves, mow… And wonder why there are yellow spots, why it won’t grow under the trees, why the dandelions are coming back…
As Usual, I’m Speaking to You as a Biologist. Are You Ready?
The lawn was not created in a laboratory. It’s a collection of introduced wild plants that we torture by repeatedly cutting them down and forcing them to grow in places that don’t suit them. Nature is very strong and tries to live, but there are limits. If your soil is so wet that it doesn’t even dry out in a heatwave, or so dry that it’s all cracked, or the sun never touches it, stop fighting, you’re going to lose. You have to think of the lawn as a plant. If you can’t conceive of it, buy synthetic turf!
Nature wants to live. Your lawn is a war zone! Each blade of grass tries to rise above the others to get more light. Every dandelion seed that comes along tries to root deep to get access to the water your lawn neglects. Every animal that passes through tries to find a meal or shelter.
You Have a Choice to Make, as Supreme Lord of This Grassy Territory
Choice 1: The Dictator.
Introduce a high, recurring tax system (i.e. cut it short and often!), fines (pesticides for EVERYONE) and cause famine (if you REALLY want to suffocate your town, collect the cut grass instead of leaving it: it’s like asking the people – your lawn – to work, then taking away what they’ve earned, while starving them MOUHAHAHAHA!). When the people seem too stifled by this way of life, calm the revolt by throwing them food (fertilizer).
Choice 2: the UN.
Be a mediator in this war. Let the different species grow as they please, settle in, take what they need. Let them organize themselves and you’ll see: a balance will be established in this war zone. It will become a beautiful, flourishing, diverse, balanced and healthy environment… and a tourist attraction!
So, what kind of grass-lord are you?
OK, but at Some Point You Have to Cut!
Yes, I know. My youngest, doesn’t like to do his business when the lawn is up to his eyes (I’m talking about my dog, of course!).
I mow more often where he does what he has to do, as well as the paths to the garden or garden shed. After all, we’ve got a tick problem in the area, so you don’t have to do it on purpose either!
Otherwise, I mow when it’s knee-high… and part of my plot is left completely fallow. When I pass the tractor, I leave everything in place. Two days later, it’s gone. It decomposes and feeds the plants I’ve just damaged.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I mowed my dogs’ poop spot this week. Under the 25 centimetres of hay I removed, there was a world. In a square about 4 meters square, I disturbed a toad and a garter snake. Don’t worry, as I mow as long as possible, neither was harmed. A little taken aback, admittedly, but they moved on a few yards and found themselves back in a cool, damp habitat, rich in food and hiding places.
These two individuals are not the only ones living in my lawn: they are predators, so their presence also confirms that of prey. Insects, worms, small mammals, birds…
As someone who has chosen to live in the countryside, and who is aware of my impact on the natural world around my home, I have chosen to admire this life and allow it to continue.
My Lawn, My Choice
It’s not for everyone: if you live in the city, play sports outdoors, have young children and a phobia of ticks, I totally understand. But for ME, my lawn is long, full of life, requires very little maintenance… and I’m not going to cut it any more to please my neighbors, my mother (sorry mom!) or Louis XIV.
Living in nature is my pride and joy. So is not giving in to social pressure. FREE THE LAWN!
Forgive my rant, but I’m tired of being told my lawn is too long and full of dandelions. Two years ago, a pizza deliveryman made a comment… Really!? All the photos in my article are of my lawn: is it so unsightly? I don’t care, I like it!