Thursday, May 19, 2011

Grazin' in the Grass

I live in Wisconsin, so we have two seasons - shoveling and mowing.  :D  We've just come into the mowing season here - it's been a really cool spring and not too rainy, so thankfully we're not out there every five days cutting the grass.

And when you think about it, "cutting the grass" is a fairly new thing.  Really, it's only in the last 100 years or so that people had lawns - before that you either lived in the city or on a farm and even if you did have a landscaped property it was probably mostly gardens.

But then came suburbia.  Now, of course, a lawn seems ubiquitous - not only that, you're a pariah if you don't properly maintain your lawn.  So unless you live in places like Phoenix, where it's not only acceptable (and beautiful!) to have a "lawn" made of stones and decorative rock but also environmentally friendly, you have to succumb to the joyous task of lawn care.

Think of how much easier lawn care is now as opposed to 1945, when these brochures were printed by the Scott's company.  The idea's the same, but we have power mowers now!  Back then, most people used the human-powered lawn mower - the push mower.  There is a movement afoot to bring back the push mower for environmental reasons but first - can we PLEASE get rid of the gas-powered leaf blowers?  Those things are not only bad for the environment, they're bad for my ears.  I HATE THEM.  Okay, sorry for the rant!  :D  Back to the brochures.  Isn't it interesting that the product Turf Builder was in existence even back 66 years ago?

There are other lawn-related products that just seem hilarious now - take, for example, the myriad examples of chemical-laden insecticides!  These products would obliterate small villages, yet people thought nothing of spraying them willy-nilly over their lawns.  DDT?  Harmful?  Who cares, as long as my roses look good!  Let's pave paradise and put up a parking lot!

Thanks to one of my most fervent supporters, Marybeth, I was able to create this piece on commission.  Marybeth specifically wanted a collage that featured one of those old sprayers and as good fortune would have it, I actually had just the image from one of my vintage magazines!  Doesn't she just look THRILLED to be obliterating those pesky insects?  :D


  1. thanks for the shout-out for Phoenix gardening with gravel and rocks!! Although we did just put in a postage-size lawn, so it's not totally a desert landscape... it still seems strange to me, though, and probably always will, when I hear people mowing their grass or can smell the just-cut freshness. (and those older pesticides and herbicides scare me, knowing what they cn do to us and to the environment!!)

  2. Jennifer - I've only been to Phoenix once, about 8 years ago, but I was struck by how beautiful a rock garden can be if you do it right! (And I've seen yours on your blog - beautiful indeed!) I do love the smell of fresh-cut grass, still - nothing signals the beginning of summer quite like that smell (and firing up the grills!) :D
    Those ads a a HOOT, aren't they? :D