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  • So much for 'no maintenance'

  • Several readers have asked that I repeat this column, published about three years ago. Although my philosophy about lawns is not a religious one, this nevertheless expresses my views. It portrays a conversation the creator might have had with St. Francis on the subject of lawns. The author is unknown.
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  • Several readers have asked that I repeat this column, published about three years ago. Although my philosophy about lawns is not a religious one, this nevertheless expresses my views. It portrays a conversation the creator might have had with St. Francis on the subject of lawns. The author is unknown.
    God: Hey, Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in America? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect "no maintenance" garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of color by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
    St. Francis: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
    God: Grass? But it's so boring! It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental about temperatures. Do the Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
    St. Francis: Apparently so. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing the grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
    God: The spring rains and warm weather probably make the grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
    St. Francis: Well, apparently not. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it ... sometimes twice a week.
    God: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
    St. Francis: Not exactly. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
    God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
    St. Francis: No, sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
    God: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize the grass to make it grow, then they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
    St. Francis: Yes, sir.
    God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
    St. Francis: You are not going to believe this. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses, water it and pay more money so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
    God: What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty, and shade in summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes over winter. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.
    St. Francis: You had better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into piles, put them in bags, and pay to have them hauled away.
    God: No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in winter and keep the soil moist and loose?
    St. Francis: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something called mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
    God: And where do they get this mulch?
    St. Francis: They cut down trees and grind them up to make mulch.
    God: Enough! I don't want to think about this any more. Sister Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
    St. Catherine: "Dumb and Dumber," Lord. It's a movie about ...
    God: Never mind. I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.
    Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. Email her at diggit1225@gmail.com.
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