Garden glimpses - grass amongst others June 2023

Simon Barnes tells us early humans lived in African savannah. Endless acres of grass, eaten by mammals, in turn eaten by us. No need for insects, just wind. Grows from the bottom, so chop top off and it keeps growing. Next, we kept herds and moved on when the grass was spent (pastoralism) - semi-nomadic. Eventually horses as well for transport. Then storing grass for winter (silage). Then the rich people enclosed grassland to make money, leaving poor people with very little.

Our sense of well-being is intimately linked with grass. Hence lawns, writes Jane Shilling of the Telegraph, beginning with the likes of Capability Brown, have become almost sacred spaces, all over the world. Manicured to death.

Sports rely on immaculate grass - soccer, rugby, cricket, golf, lawn tennis.

Paul Robbins asserts that lawns now control us - Joni Mitchell wrote a song 'hissing of summer lawns' referring to water sprinklers. Note the exclusivity of Oxbridge lawns and the occasional curt 'keep off the grass' sign. No upstart plants. Untidiness is a loss of control of our lives.

There is a movement to encourage wild garden growth rather than well-tended, including allowing weeds and wild flowers to flourish in lawns. Supported by the horticultural society. 

We've had lawns wherever we've lived. Except now, where we have grass in pots, along with nettles and other weeds. And aquilegia.

So I've been let off the leash. And, I think we can make an exception for the holy 22 yards.


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