Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Keep Off The Grass!

  Lawns. Why would any sane "Aussie" ever want one?  The problem with lawns is that they attract public enemy numbers one and two; the lawn mower and the “whipper-snipper”. Now we all know that these pieces of objectionable machinery register high on everyone’s “Richter-scale” of irritability but why is it that the trigger for their drill-like, bleats, always seems to be me, settling down on a Saturday arvo, for a “quiet” uninterrupted read? There I am, embracing the silent sanctity of suburbia, when their acerbic drones are projected into the recesses of my brain like an electric eel. They encamp there until I’m blaspheming in the manner of a tourettes sufferer on steroids.
  What compounds my irritation is that this unctuous sound is an aural illustration of the ignorance, waste and futility that spawned it. It epitomises humanity’s descent into blind stupidity. Ninety nine times out of a hundred the “Whipper Snipper” is used to trim exotic grasses such a Buffalo, Couch and Kikuyu, which shouldn’t even be present in this fragile continent. Across Australia we’ve planted hundreds of thousands of lawns made out of foreign weed species that devour water and nutrients like they’ve gone out of fashion. That is idiocy.

  If my neighbours replaced their weedy lawns with native ground cover such as “Dichondra ” they would never have to whip, snip or mow again..ever! And the benefits don’t end with me being able to catch up on my “Sydney Morning Herald”. For a start their lawn will go from being a weed seed-bank to a beautiful indigenous “biosphere”. They would also save mega bucks by not needlessly investing in machinery, fuel, lawn-food and irrigation systems.  Petrol powered gardening equipment also accounts for around 5% of our air pollution. That’s a huge potential dent in greenhouse emissions just waiting to happen.  They would also economise massively on time...precious moments they could spend reading leading edge journalism or maybe just drinking, gambling and committing adultery. In addition they would be able to stay out of the sun and limit their exposure to damaging UV rays. Lives could be saved!

 When you add up the social, environmental, physical and financial equation centred on grass growth and grass grooming, it’s quite clear. We have been hoodwinked by the lawn and mowing sector at a level that would make Tobacco Industry lobbyists, turf-coloured with envy. 

Postscript:  I used to spend several futile hours a month mowing. In an enlightened moment I dug up the lawn and replaced it with the lawn substitute called “Dichonda Repens” more commonly known as “Kidney weed” (NB it is not a weed). This native ground-cover is available in tube stock pots from most nurseries and garden centres; it thrives best in semi shaded area.  Plant one clump, every square 100cm, in your newly-cleared patch. Water in well and weed regularly until established. You will soon have a gorgeous green carpet and never need to mow again!!

A weedy, thirsty, energy intensive lawn now replaced by a soft carpeted native ground-cover