There is this attempt by nature to dominate as well as nurture. We love to grow grass but against that we have to mow it. Actually, I don’t love grass, not in the form of the dreaded lawn. In 1956 soon after arrival I noticed our neighbour having a fixation about his lawn. It wasn’t directly noticed or seen by me. Each week-end instead of being on his knees in church or on football field, he was seen kneeling on his beloved lawn.
He would crawl along as if in prayer, his head bend piously and in reverence but hands downwards as if repenting something of the past and asking forgiveness, grasping at clumps of grass in the meantime. He could always be found on his lawn in the week-end. It must have been of great comfort and reassurance to his wife. He was a good husband, father of six children and loved his lawn.
The question is; was he in control of his lawn or the other way around? His aim, after I was first watching and then asking my dear neighbour, was his unshaken love and fondness of kneeling on grass to get rid of unwanted grasses. He called them weeds. To me it all looked green and lovely. Our neighbour ( his name was Bill) had a different view of nice grass. It had to be a pure type of grass and not of a multi- varied type. He made his life-long wish to get a perfect lawn.
There I was thinking grass is grass and green is green. No, not according to Bill. There are whole armies of true blue homeowners who are absolutely committed to a perfect lawn. During week-ends many are seen on knees digging out ‘weeds’, don’t mistake them for being bored. They take to lawns like Vermeer did to the painting of a Golden Girl and magic Pearl. I have seen this!
It would be unwise to question this too adroitly. One could end up being called a communist or worse, a Trotskyite reffo and lose out on a friendly neighbour. It does not go down well when migrants from stale cabbage smelling dusty Hungarian or Dutch apartments then emerging in a sunny cheery Australia, to meddle with things they should have left behind in the ‘old country’. It is never too late to learn something. Leave lawns well enough alone. Each to their own!
I did learn and accept but have as yet to be converted to preening a lawn during week-ends. As a concession and in memory of ‘Bill’ though, I now have an electric whipper snipper to keep down all the little grasses that with all the rain has sprung surprisingly quickly during the last few weeks.
As for things outgrowing. A year ago we planted what we thought a small leafy plant in a pot. It is much more now and is increasingly trying to take over. If you look at the photo, we have to squeeze around it now to get upstairs. It grows almost a foot per day and we have thought of calling the State Emergency Services with helicopter. It is getting out of control and if it keeps going, might have to move our computers and office downstairs. It is not a banana or palm tree, but it is big. It is close to three metres. Help!
Nature or nurture?