Opinion: When it comes to grass, don’t go green

Dry conditions at Prospect Lake

Green grass is the new smoking.

If you have a lush, watered, manicured lawn in this summer of the worst drought ever, conditions that will turn Vancouver Island into the Sahara of the Pacific, it means that you will be shunned by your neighbours, friends, and passers-by.

My grass, front and back, is going very brown. I don’t water it, never really have. I don’t have a sprinkler.

Mostly I watch clover and weeds and bare patches take over the lawn and slightly envy those with their bowling green lawns.

But no more.

The province of British Columbia and local authorities have told us to use water responsibly and sparingly or they will bring in draconian restrictions.

So my brown lawn is doing my bit for my community, my province and the world. And I can shake my head condescendingly at those who primp and manicure their lawns and cut them in straight lines, and edge them with precision-like obsession.

I know one person, who may be my son in law, who becomes distraught if a single dandelion rears its ugly head on his lawn, and frantically attacks it until it has been exorcised forever.

I know another who says, well, he has an automatic sprinkler so there’s not much he can do really. Well, he could turn it off. I bet he turns it off when it snows.

The Royal Horticultural Society in Britain has suggested people plant clover and various herbs instead of grass in low traffic areas. They didn’t mention moss, but I have become a world expert at growing moss on my lawn, my trees and my roof, so I’m already ahead of the alternatives. Green grass apparently is thirsty as hell, while there are other species that hardly need any water. I guess I could plant the whole back yard with cactus, but the doggie might complain. Then again it might serve him right for all the bare patches. I know where they started.

I agree that brown grass doesn’t look as pretty as lush green grass, but we should all go brown if we want to do our bit.

We should also grow beards.

We are also being told we need to use less water when we shave. Turn off the tap between lathering and razoring. I have been doing my part in this area, in that I haven’t shaved in 30 years, mostly because when I am bare faced I look like my mother, which doesn’t overly endear me to my family. There’s also that bum chin, but let’s not dwell.

I suppose we could all shower less, brush our teeth less, maybe, and I’m going out on a shaky limb here, suggest that our local golf courses let the fairways and greens go brown. I know, I know, sacrilege. But even we golfers must campaign for browns instead of greens.

Anyway, we have been warned. Green grass is a no-no. We should all be proud to go brown for awhile.

A good start. A drop in the bucket perhaps but it’s the least we can do.

And if you really, really need your grass to be green, I have some leftover paint you can borrow, it’s labelled chartreuse. Close. Paint your grass. Be the Picasso of the lawn.

Or, better still, pray for rain.

Ian Haysom is consulting editor with CHEK Media.

Ian Haysom

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