Tuesday, April 11, 2006


A confession

When we moved into our house, three years this June, one of the things I was most excited about was having a patch of lawn to tend. I come from people who grow thick, lush carpets of grass and have many happy memories of playing on said green carpets.

The back lawn, despite three years of dog business and a 12' diameter dirt circle where the pool sits for three months of the year, is in surprisingly good shape. It's a little patchy in places, and the weeds are creeping in, but I'm altogether satisfied with it.

The front lawn is my nemesis.

When we moved in, the front yard was perfect. By the end of that summer, it was dry and had small dirt patches throughout, which I attributed to neglectful watering. The following spring, I carefully seeded it and hired a lawn care company to do some organic fertilizing and weed control. (That was the summer Simon was a newborn and I knew I wouldn't have time to properly take care of the lawn.)

The lawncare company thought we might have grubs, and we discussed options - either chemical or organic. I chose organic - at twice the cost, mind you - but they never got around to doing the treatment. And they weren't so great with the weeding bit either. They'd spray the occasional dandilion with some vinegar solution and that was it. I figured at least they'd try to pull them, but I spent most of the summer doing that myself and wondering what exactly I had paid them for.

That September I seeded, and seeded again in April of last year. I spent last summer seeding, fertilizing, watering, and managed to coax a lovely crop of weeds to grow, because at least the weeds were green and covered the dirt.

This year, the whole front lawn is one big dirt patch, nary a blade of grass to be seen. When you rake the dirt, you can see the nasty little grubs. Ugh! Grubs freak. me. out. (Why? Blog for another day.) The robins are thrilled, and in fact the ground looks like it's been aerated, there are so many beak-holes in the dirt.

So after three years of dismal success, I have capitulated. I'm sick of spending the time and the money and having nothing to show for it. I'm going to resod the whole sodding thing, and I'm going to hire a new lawn-care company. (whispers) And I'm going to let them use pesticides.

(cringe of shame)

I know. I am completely opposed to the use of pesticides in cosmetic lawn care. I am deeply offended by it. I walk past lawns that are acres and acres of uniform emerald blades and feel deep regret that the earth is being poisoned - that we are poisoned - simply so this lawn can be weedless and perfect. A few years ago, I successfully lobbied the condominum corporation of our last house to stop using Par III on the common grounds, and signed a petition to get our city to stop using cosmetic pesticides on city property. I'm mortified at the idea of having one of those little paper flags ('an evil person who doesn't care about your children and your pets and the future of the planet lives here') marking me as a neighbourhood scourge - but I don't know what else to do.

I've been worn down by my three year battle with the front lawn. I've tried, really I have. I gave it my best shot, hundreds of dollars and countless hours. It doesn't have to be a Stepford lawn, perfect and uniform - but the curb-to-driveway dirt farm is just depressing. Not to mention messy - the boys are thrilled to have so much black dirt so easily accessible each time you step out the front door, I assure you, but I'm a little tired of cleaning it out of the carpet. And the car. And their clothes. And the dog.

Oh, the guilt. I promise, I'll just do it this one year, to get us back on track with a healthy, normal lawn. We'll just get rid of those creepy, grubby creatures, and I'll spend the rest of my life pulling dandilions by hand... as long as I can kneel in the grass to do it.

Don't hate me.