Big news from the Lawn Reform Coalition!
First, we have a Facebook Page – please “Like” it to follow news of the hottest issue in gardening today! True, we initially set up a Group on Facebook but as many users have discovered, Pages are better for campaigns like this one, so we’ll be asking Groupies to move on over to the page.
And to keep even MORE folks up to date about lawn-related happenings – even people who are Facebook-averse – we also have a newsletter we’ll be publishing at least quarterly, and you can sign up right here.
Now while we’re collecting subscribers for our first e-newsletter to be sent in September, here’s the sort of news we’ll be stuffing into our newsletters, and of course updating to our Facebook page.
Welcome, Saxon! Here’s why we thought he’d be a valuable partner in this campaign, from our About page: Saxon Holt is a professional garden photographer whose images are well recognized in hundreds of magazine and book credits. In his work he seeks to change the aesthetic of what we expect to see in a garden photograph so that the media portrays authentic and sustainable gardens. ”The American Meadow Garden” and his two most previous books, Hardy Succulents, and Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates, were all awarded prizes by the Garden Writers of America as “outstanding books”. He owns the stock photography library PhotoBotanic and blogs regularly at Gardening Gone Wild.
Coalition Members doing Lawn Work
- Evelyn Hadden and Saxon Holt have contracted with Timber Press to write and photograph the upcoming Lose Your Lawn. We can’t wait to see it.
- Paul Tukey sends us this news of SafeLawns.org: “The film, A Chemical Reaction, has now been shown in more than 150 locations and we’re working on distribution on Netflix and Amazon. We are hosting SafeLawns Organics Night Sept. 10 at GWA in Dallas: a reception that will include a screening of the film, a moderated panel and drinks etc. We’re developing a children’s book about lawns. We’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of our blog, and there’s a project too big to even talk about yet, but it will be the BIGGEST thing I’ve ever done in my career”. Okay, we’re curious.
- Tom Christopher has also been busy working to reform the American Lawn. He edited a book for Timber Press about sustainable gardening which will be published next spring. It includes a chapter about lawn alternatives by John Greenlee and an introduction to no-mow lawns by Neil Diboll. Tom’s been working with fine fescues himself, planting a couple of lawns for friends and neighbors and a demonstration plot at his town hall, and will be reporting his findings soon.
- Tom Engleman writes: “The Grass Roots Program has just now launched on a grant study with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. We are comparing Tall Fescue, Bermuda Grass and Buffalograss lawns using various irrigation practices. The study runs for 1 year — after which we are hearing that MWD will likely recommend and adopt widespread change for traditional lawns in their HUGE service area!! Moreover, other Western water supplies will likely follow MWD’s lead on such innovation.
When the study is completed next summer, I’ll pass on our conclusions and MWD recommendations. “ Good work, Tom!
- Susan Morrison is leading workshops as part of a statewide California Master Gardener public outreach program that teaches actionable, sustainable gardening practices, including the benefits of reducing turfgrass. Susan tells us that “in California, many gardeners understand the need to conserve water, but they’re shocked to learn that run-off from irrigated lawns often contains fertilizers and pesticides that flow directly into local watersheds. We’re so used to pointing the finger at corporations, we don’t realize that we homeowners are a bigger source of water pollution.”
- And I (Susan Harris, if this link makes the rounds), posted a video about the mosaic of groundcovers that replaced my front lawn. My ex-lawns, both front and back, were recently photographed by Saxon Holt for Lose Your Lawn. And I’ve been invited to join the Lawn for Pollinators Task Force of the North American Pollinator Campaign when they meet in D.C. this fall. More conspiring for the cause!
Lawn Reform Coalition in the Media
- In the Bay Area Examiner, here’s a review of Saxon Holt and John Greenlee’s Meadow book and mention of the Coalition.
- Fine Gardening Mag’s Editor Steve Aitken published a balanced, reform-minded editorial about lawns in their Feb/2010 issue as an introduction to Susan Harris’s article on lawn alternative plants.
- Nice article by Debra Prinzing in Alaska Airlines Magazine and fortunately, also on her website.
- Urban Farm magazine ran a feature about the Coalition and the cause, not online.
The Anti-Lawn Message
- How to Get Your Lawn Off Grass: A North American Guide to Turning Off the Water Tap and Going Native by Carole Rubin.
- Urban and Suburban Meadows: Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces by Catherine Zimmerman.
- In a British news service: “U.S. Lawns Getting an Eco-Makeover“.
- Why Lawns are Not Sustainble in Conservation Gardening.
Balanced Reports of Lawn Problems
- In the Washington Post, the excellent “Refining the beautiful lawn when it comes to the Chesapeake Bay’s health” by a regular writer, not a gardening insider.
- In Men’s Health, “Your Lethal Lawn“, another excellent article and recommendations for safer lawn care, etc.
- More homeowners opt for natural landscaping” was published in Virginia’s News Leader.
- Not online but we’ll take it: the June issue of Prevention Magazine has article on natural lawn care (mainly organic fertilizers) and Reader’s Digest also recently tackled the topic.
On the Legislative Front
- Natural lawncare advocates are celebrating the signing of a tough anti-pesticide bill by New York Governor David Paterson. The Child Safe Playing Fields Act, which bans the use of chemical pesticides on school playing fields and playgrounds, is being called “historic” by our Paul Tukey.
Nice Examples of Alternatives
- Gardening Gone Wild tackled groundcovers, and here’s their roundup of blog posts on the subject. Great stuff!
- Designer Rochelle Greayer showed us a lovely front yard in Seattle.
- One blogger wrote to tell he he’s “the caretaker of what is apparently the first homeowner buffalo grass lawn in Phoenix – it’s the new variety UC Verde, with its exceptional heat tolerance and modest water needs). He blogged about the entire process and reports that “even as a startup lawn it was using less water starting plugs than established Bermuda grass takes.”
- Paul Tukey is featuring a different groundcover (and alternative lawn) every Wednesdays, starting with lemon thyme and Goldmoss sedum.
- Organic care of athletic fields result in 25 percent cost savings over 5 years: http://www.grassrootsinfo.org/turfcomparisonreport.pdf.
- Mike McGrath, former editor of Organic Gardening, spoke about Organic Lawn Care, (and that blog post about it was a huge traffic-magnet.