Death of the Lawn?
Interesting piece in The Guardian today about the death of the lawn. Slightly inaccurate on the origins of the mower but that's not really the point in question. The bit about "male obsession" made me smile.
I was wondering when someone was going to come up with this when I heard Monty Don ( who isn't really a gardener by the way ) on the radio the other day. There isn't anything new in this and in broad general terms ' The Lawn ' has been dying for many years. In part this is less to do with fashion and more to do with climate change. Anyone who has been actively gardening for thirty years or more will be well aware of just how different things are. There is also the marked decline in home orientated life and what people regard as leisure and a rather less physical, outdoor culture. This of course may now revert a little following lockdown and peoples' realisation of the value of growing one's own veg. for example. It also has to said that the gradual decline in the lawn coincides with the popularisation of the rotary mower; I won't use the word lawnmower in this respect.
The reality is that it is not totally a male obsession. Lady gardeners will be quick to tell you that their well maintained borders look all the better for presentable mown grass, never mind a proper lawn. There will be a need for lawn mowing and half decent grass cutting for a long time to come in private gardens, quite apart from public areas and sports facilities.
There has always been a case for hand powered machines over motor mowers where appropriate and from the enthusiasts point of view it is to be hoped that henceforth there will be a wider appreciation of the merits of quality vintage machinery. This is after all another way of helping to save the planet by reducing carbon emissions from churning out new machinery of dubious quality and durability.
Personally I'm not worried !
In reply, I love mowing my lawn together with stripes though I am not too concerned that the grass has to be perfect. Bad moss this year but a neat lawn makes my borders look tidy. My near neighbours have a little moan as I am the first to mow and their wives nag them to follow suit. I am sure other women, though not so many, like neatness in the garden.
There has been an increase in losing the front lawn in favour of paving over it! I have seen this take place on a road in South London where a family relative lives. Yet the owner of the house doesn’t have the kerb lowered presumably due to the cost.
This article dates back to 2015 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32780242
Interesting, I certainly agree that a lot of nice front lawns have been lost to families with more cars and nowhere to park them...
The rear lawn however, I'm inclined to disagree with The Guardian.
A quick gander at YouTube will give plenty of channels (some with hundreds of thousands of followers) where the primary topic is lawncare.
A lot of these are US based, but a lot of brits follow them too. There's also a very active lawn forum, again US based, but with plenty of Brit content.
I was talking to a friend at a mower manufacturer the other day who said business is booming and they can hardly make enough to supply demand
Thanks Keith for highlighting this. I've seen this coming for quite some time now. I can't help thinking that the comment Monty Don made about the male obsession with a tidy lawn being ' 'fossil fuel powered and noisy' among other things we have brought upon ourselves by not moving on with the times. I have commented several times that the day of the diesel or petrol mower is indeed coming to an end. Those lovely old push mowers and indeed electric mowers will come to the fore. Mark my words it's coming. This article in the Guardian is just the beginning. I am as guilty as others in that I have a few petrol mowers but my collection is predominately push or electric now. Perhaps if we all decided to put the petrol beasts to one side in favour of the 'greener mowers' ( excuse the pun ) perhaps comments such as Monty's will have less meaning or bite.
Yes Monty's comments the other day perhaps the answer lies in the title of his garden Long Meadow! Dug up and landscaped but not by his fair hands!
What ever the lawn,green back cloth,open space,or wild flower meadow,they will all need maintaining to various degrees, otherwise they will be lost to nature (bramble areas)
Again commentators with too much time on their hands employed by the BBC the root of most of our problems.
As for petrol and diesel powered mowers,they will be there for many more years,as for the vintage movement as a whole,the wealth and turnover in the vintage movement is a rather staggering figure,this is why Ministers are lobbying parliament over the continued use of fossil fuels.
As for the demand for new mowers and the like,this year is going to be grim.Already there are problems in the supply chain,caused by Lock downs,in Europe,plus Brexit,with the unwillingness of Germany to toe the line with Customs documents.Italy will be back in lock down from Monday,another fiasco for those of you who don't know.Thats where Stiga and its sister company Mountfield are plus BCS are in crisis.In the latter case,that cocks up Track masters here,who cannot raise even manifests to know where their supplies are stuck in transit.Somewhere in the ether I have a brand new mower mulcher deck,paid for on order from last November! Not the way to run a business!
Fortunately my main fleet is only a year old and is Toro so well made and unaffected by Brexit,so when every ones lawns get out of hand this year and they will, at least my 30 inch flail which also mulches and can leave the worst of grass areas looking like a bowling green it will be time to cash in!
What's wrong with male obsessions?
I'm male and proud of it. I like my male obsessions and will not take any notice of some BBC or Guardian employee telling me I should be anything other than that. Monty lives in a big house that was built by 'controlling males' and everything he does in his garden is a form of control.