Lose the lawns

Drought-stricken California is starting to make developers reduce the area devoted to lawns, which are huge water-guzzlers. You'd think from looking at Southern California's heavily lawned landscape that it is as wet as New England rather than a desert made green by water from hundreds of miles away in the High Sierra. Lawns, even in usually damp New England, are huge wasters of water, and a major contributor of pollution from the fertilizers and pesticides  that folks dump on them, often to excess.

Ground cover or just trees are a much better use of the land, though I  still appreciate the beauty of a very green lawn. I have fond memories of lying on them on  hot, pre-air-conditioned nights watching the fireflies. But we give lawns far too much space.

I wish that my parents had planted over their lawns on the Massachusetts coast with something that didn't require my spending many hours a month cutting them -- my earliest  steady "summer job.''

Back then,  in the  '50s and early '60s,  we never worried about using too much water or about pouring on the (pre-Silent Spring) pesticides and fertilizer.

-- Robert Whitcomb