War on Artificial Turf
In lawn news, something I can never get enough of, the town of Glendale, California has banned artificial grass due to "potential health hazards presented by high levels of lead". But get this – they banned it only in front yards. "When asked why the fake grass would continue to be allowed in backyards, officials had no answer," according to CBS Los Angeles.
In this television report, one unhappy resident describes having to rip out her brand-new $3,000 lawn.
I'm on the fence about artificial turf myself – because it sure saves on water, a precious commodity in most of California. And they're making better product these days, right? Not all of which is lead-based? But readers, what do YOU think?
Occupy your Front Yard
In other lawn news, Paul Tukey alerted me to yet another instance of a non-lawn-loving gardener running into legal troubles. Native-plant advocate Louise Quigley has been battling her Wisconsin town for three years now over the six-foot-tall prairie grasses she grows in her front yard, which has prompted, town officials say, “a slew” of complaints. Her front garden also includes purple coneflowers, goldenrods, milkweeds and butterfly weeds, which she told the local newspaper are "less work, they come up every year, they are pretty. Native perennials have all kinds of environment benefits because the native plants feed the native bugs, feed the birds.”
The ordinance she's being charged under requires mowing, which ordinance Louise believes is outdated. From the local Patch:
"(The ordinance) is about lawns and it isn't about native plant communities," she said. "It was drafted way back and wasn't about 21st century aesthetics or a 21st century ecological understanding. I don't have a lawn, I have a prairie. They are using a lawn regulation to harass me about my prairie."
If there isn't already an online campaign against this silliness, we should start one.
"Bio-native" – WTF?
This item is about nontraditional lawns NOT under attack, though the marketing language describing is questionable. Mary Gray, a designer and frequent commenter here on the Rant, has her own fabulous blog, where she reports on HGTV's 2012 "dream home" and notes its use of what they call "bio-native grasses". Ever heard that term before? Neither had Mary.
I had to see it for myself and sure enough – the term is used on this slide show about the front garden: "Bio-native grasses, planted beyond Kentucky bluegrass, created a natural transition from ornamental beds to native meadow." Were they thinking that "native" didn't sound good enough, and it needed to sound even greener?
About that "tax on Christmas"
Remember Amy's post about the tax on Christmas trees? The issue popped up in this WaPo story about a related conflict – between growers of real Christmas trees and makers of the fake ones. I can't help but wonder if the fake-tree lobby played a role in the nixing of the marketing campaign for real trees. Here's the mention:
The USDA gave up a short-lived plan for a “Got Milk”-type campaign to support real trees after it drew complaints that the government was putting a tax on Christmas. The government approved a marketing campaign for real trees that would be funded by a 15-cent charge to larger growers for each tree sold. Commentators including Rush Limbaugh, along with the Heritage Foundation, derided the plan as a Christmas tree tax, and the administration put it on hold.
Artificial tree photo credit ("artificial and unnatural, just the way we like it", says the photographer). Quigley garden photo by Adam W. McCoy.