Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung

HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge

Perhaps not officially but as far as House Hodge goes – it’s here. Since the weakest hint or glint of February sunlight, Tez and I have been dreaming of this year’s garden: what goes in, what goes out, where, when, how? However, while analyzing this year’s garden plan one thing definitely not on the ‘to plant’ list is grass. We’re pretty much done with it.

I’m not referring to grass as in pot, but grass as in lawns.

Why do we grow grass? Or even more focused – why lawns?

What is North America’s fixation with growing lawns?

Canada is a nation of lawn-lovers, yet lawns lack logic.

They’re largely an illogical fixation consuming bundles of money, time, water, and energy. Lawns serve a purpose for folks who truly utilize their lawns (playing, sun tanning, constantly socializing); however, the most time the majority of us actually spend on our perfectly manicured lawns is when we cut or water it – or cut across the yard to the car.

The real issue of ‘lawn stupidity’ is the total waste of our most precious resource – water. Despite our ongoing awareness of the need to preserve water for some baffling reason we continue to grow massive lawns. We’re even willing to pay through the nose simply to water our fetish lawns.

It’s that absurd silly cycle of lawn care that boggles me most. We water it and water it and watch it grow – then cut it. Then immediately water it again so we can grow it, then cut then water it again. And again. And again. And…


We usually do nothing with the cut grass. We don’t eat grass. We don’t smoke it, drink it, roll in it, or even make sweaters out of it. A few conscientious or gardening types will compost it – but they are a rare breed of Canadian.

The bonus to some degree is when we do nothing with the cut grass but leave it where it fell. We give it an official sounding term – mulching. Mulching is great in some gardens and composts but you can only use so much and none that has been sprayed with pesticides for weeds.

Oh yeah, pesticides – another reason we’re avoiding lawns.

Way too many Canadians demand their perfect lawn be brilliant green and weed-free; usually only attainable with a plethora of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. The logic behind this is also discombobulating since it seems we already have enough opportunity to bombard our bodies with cancers and other inflictions without exposing ourselves needlessly to the known toxins and poisons of pesticides. But we do.

It’s part of the Dandelion Phobia Canadians share. Never mind in some parts of the world dandelions are grown as a crop. Never mind they are 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.

Of course 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 his 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, like the quality and size of the dandelion-free lawn, are also part of neighbourhood prestige. Many homes now proudly display the latest flashy ‘ride-em’ lawnmowers.

All of which leads me to contemplate the infamous adage that, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

I have a few theories why that may be true:

a) 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.

b) The goof drenches his yard in pesticides or fertilizers.

c) The neighbour can afford to hire a lawn care company.

d) It’s a well manicured and disguised pot operation.

e) It’s not greener – you’re just having your senses affected by the neighbour’s use of pesticides or the aforementioned pot.

f) The neighbour’s lawn is dead, brown, you’re just colour blind.

g) Who cares?

I suppose it’s clear we are not lawn fans. In fact I think we’ve talked ourselves into eliminating as much as we can as soon as possible. We’ll let the neighbours provide the robins and sparrows of the world with their supply of worms.

Tez and I have decided to replace our lawn with a kid’s plastic swimming pool. When the water gets dirty we’ll just hand water our garden bed. The only chemicals that will get near the pool is whatever toxins are found in beer.

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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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