HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge – May 17th, 2019

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HodgePodge

By Charlie Hodge.

I’d like to alter an infamous adage.

‘April showers bring May flowers’ should be changed (for honesty and integrity) to read ‘April showers bring May weeds’.

At least in my yard. Yes, my yard hosts plenty of flowers, however they are conveniently protected from water and sunshine by a forest flora not precisely pretty nor having the potential to become so. They are simply ugly, nasty, choky weeds winning my garden’s arms race.

Of course a gazillion of the little nasties are dandelions; survivors of a previous purge by Moi when I eliminated all my front lawn and half of my back lawn two years ago. It was wisely replaced by raised garden beds of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. And crush. Lots of crush. ‘My body still hurts years later’ amounts of crush.

That brainstorm arrived after years of battling to save a crappy, lumpy, dandelion infested lawn. I finally asked myself, why do I grow grass? What is Canada’s fixation with growing lawns?
Lawns are largely an illogical addiction which costs us a bundle of money, time, water, energy and stress. It would be justifiable if we actually used our lawns regularly, but we don’t. Lawns serve a purpose to those constantly socializing or playing on them. Few of us do.

The only time many people spend on their perfectly manicured lawns is when they cut it, water it, or walk across it to the car.

Lawns are a waste of our most precious resource – water. Every year the need to preserve water increases yet we continue to grow massive lawns. How much room does one need to suntan?

The absurd cycle of lawn care boggles me most. We water and water and water. Watch it grow. Cut it. Then water again.

And why do we immediately water again?

Because we just cut it – and now we want it to grow… again.

Huh?

We usually do nothing with the cut grass. We don’t eat, smoke, drink, roll or even make sweaters out of it. A few gardeners may compost it. When we do nothing with cut grass but leave it where it falls we give it an official sounding term – mulching.

Many Canadians not only have a large lawn but also have perfectly green, weed-free lawns which only a ton of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or a zillion other ‘zides’ could provide. Discombobulating since we already have enough opportunity to bombard our bodies with cancers and other inflictions without exposing ourselves needlessly to further toxins and poisons. But we do.

Pesticides it appears are imperative in keeping up with the Jones’s ‘weed free’ lawn. It is part of the dandelion phobia Canadians share. Never mind that in some parts of the world dandelions are grown as a crop. Never mind they are kind of pretty. In Canada the only good dandelion is a dead dandelion.

God forbid a dandelion should appear on your lawn. Short of absurdly dedicated manual labour, or a good dose of pesticides, the only way to rid yourself of dandelions is to move.

Cutting the lawn is yet another mental marvel of Man’s machine-mindedness. (Or is that madness?). The only logical cutting apparatus we have in our tool box of lawn killing instruments is the push mower. For those of you who’ve never seen one it is operated manually by the human who rises on two legs and (believe it or not) ‘pushes’ the device around the yard manually cutting the grass with metal blades. This is called getting exercise and is rarely seen today, largely superseded by the electric mower, or the always noisy and environmentally disgusting gas mowers. Lawnmowers are also part of the neighbourhood prestige. Many homes proudly display flashy ‘ride-em’ lawnmowers.

All of which leads me to contemplate another infamous adage about how ‘the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence’.

I have a few theories on why that may be the case:

  • It’s a fact. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because the neighbour works his/her butt off to get it that way.
  • The neighbour drenches his yard in pesticides and/or fertilizers.
  • The neighbour can afford to hire a lawn care company.
  • The neighbour gets up in the middle of the night and spray paints his lawn.
  • It’s a well manicured, disguised, unlicensed pot operation – not a lawn.
  • It’s not greener. You are just having your senses affected by the neighbour’s use of pesticides or the aforementioned pot.
  • The neighbour’s lawn is dead and brown. You’re just colour blind.
  • Who cares?

It’s clear lawns and I are no longer buddies and short of the small patch out back I let my neighbours provide the robins and sparrows of the world with their needed supply of worms.

I’m thinking I might replace my back lawn with a swimming pool. Then I can really waste the water and use even more chemicals than my neighbours.

That will show the Jones’s.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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