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Useful And Fantastic: Lovely Lawns

Val Yule is no friend of power lawn mowers.

Lawns are lovely. I love lawns. Lawns are useful in hundreds of ways, lovely to the eye, beautiful in vistas, and healthy for the air.

I am against the enthusiasts for getting rid of lawns.

Australian lawns need not look like English lawns. They can go brown and waterless in summer because they don't get watered; they can be mostly green flat-weeds with flowers of yellow dandelions and white daisies; a bit too tussocky for cricket pitches and tennis but fine for other amateur sports and play, children, lounging, picnicking and barbecues, and parking extra cars, across the country.

And MOST of them do not need the great enormous waste of power mowers.

The menfolk used to mow our lawn because the motor-mower is too heavy for me. However with everyone away for summer holidays, the lawn had six weeks' growth, mostly dandelions. So I got out the little light manual lawn mower from the back of the shed.

And lo and behold, I could mow the lawn! I am now so old and small that I take a rest every ten minutes even typing this. I can mow my front lawn in the time it takes to get the petrol-mower running.

The manual lawn-mower was about 40 years old, so old that all that can be read on the label is Made in Australia—but I think the make was Qualcast. An even better and lighter one I now use, also made in Australia, is a Flymo model.

Children can run as they mow. What matter if a few weed-heads bend rather than get cut. There's always scissors for the left-overs—if you want to. (In Kyoto in 1950 I saw a row of bowed women moving at a crawl across the lawns of the Old Palace cutting the grass with scissors ... do they still?)
Everyone with a pocket-handkerchief of a lawn thinks they need their own several-hundred-dollar noise-making polluting neighbor-annoying petrol-mower. Why?

A gardening magazine had a feature about ride-on mowers. I sent a letter about hand-mowers, which then cost under $80. I don't think it was published.

Support local light-manufacturing before it disappears altogether. Push your lawnmower with correct erect posture, to trim your waist and body-build your arms. (If you bend, bend from the hips with back straight and tummy in. The first time you try this exercise, go as carefully as with a new exercise in a gym. Don't try to get rid of your flab in one go; I am not advocating hernias or heart-attacks. Build up to Olympic competition status gradually over months.)

Save the time you used to spend on repairs and maintenance of a power-mower.

If you have a large or bumpy lawn, you may still run over it with your handy little hand-mower, and keep the power-mower for the times when it needs the equivalent of spring-cleaning.
An American wrote: 'Today we burn a half billion gallons of gas a year powering rotary mowers. We pour tens of thousands of tons of chemicals on our lawns. Lawns reflect a 200-year-old Romantic dream of fusing ourselves with nature. Yet that very dream now poses a major threat to the nature it so lovingly celebrates.'

Save our oil resources! Save our carbon emissions!


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