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Week 9: Lawns
This week I will explore Renee’s vote on the best British invention: the
lawn. Lawn history begins at least 900 years ago in Europe, Great
Britain and Northern France to be exact (Jabr). The climate there has
relatively mild winters and warm, moist summers, which supports
“open, close-cut grasslands” (Lowdown). The term “lawn” comes from
the Middle English word launde, which means “a glade or opening in
the woods.” Later, that word would come to refer to artificially
designed stretches of land that look like glades. One of the earliest
laws is the grasslands that were found around medieval castles. These
grasslands had no trees so that guards could have clear views of
anyone approaching the castle. This was especially important because
some visitors could be hostile. There were also village “commons”,
meadows or grasslands held “in common” so that villagers could graze
their livestock. The sheep and cows would keep the grass cut and
The Renaissance in the 16th century saw the first deliberately
cultivated lawns by the wealthy in France and England. These lawns
were made of “chamomile, thyme, yarrow, self-heal, and other low
growing meadow and groundcover plants” (Jabr). Sometimes they were
mixed with grasses. These lawns and pathways were used to walk and
socialize. In the 17th century is when the English began to keep their
lawns cut close to the ground (Lowdown). Sheep were grazed in many
of the land considered parks, but landowners started to rely on hired
men to care for the grass around their homes. This was before
lawnmowers, so men would have to scythe the grass and weeds by
hand. It was expensive to hire men to do this job, so a lawn was a mark
of status and wealth.
Eventually lawns made it to America. The early colonists planted edible
and medicinal plants; native grasses were not cooperative enough to
be maintained as a lawn and early colonists did not have the time or
the funds to care for a lawn (Jabr). Later, some wealthier people
wanted to imitate lawns found in their native home of England so
turfgrasses that were adaptable to America’s climate were imported
from Europe and Asia. Edwin Beard Budding, an English engineer, was
the man who invented the lawnmower in 1830. His design, at first
bulky, was redesigned by others to be sleeker and lighter, and it was
finally possible for people to own reasonably sized lawns without
having to hire workers or keep a flock of sheep.
My goal is to focus on Europe, but I would like to briefly mention the
establishment of lawns in America. The 1860s was an important time
for the establishment of American Lawns. A landscaper, Frederick Law

It was wonderful to play in. or getting rid of their lawn altogether. . We save a lot of money not having to water. Scott wrote. and perennials. enviable. so we have started to look for was around the lawn. There are so many trees that the grass struggles to grow.” But there are also consequences that may overweigh the positive effects of lawn. and counteract the “urban heat island effect (cities made of metal and concrete hold more heat than rural areas) (Jabr).” Even though lawns are so firmly rooted into our idea of the American Dream. Most of it is now “natural” and a small portion of it we have given over to the moss hoping it will spread and give the yard the green color usually reserved for grass. annuals. I grew up in a house with a lawn. Our house is a corner lot too. Let your lawn be your home’s velvet robe. His design included unbroken expanses of lawn in front of the houses because no walls or fences were allowed. and all the nation’s lawns require “about 200 gallons of potable water per person per day. The back yard we have given up on. No matter what we do.” Scott is usually credited with implanting the American idea of the lawn as a symbol of community.2 Olmstead designed Riverside. there are places in the yard that refuse to grow grass. closely shaven surface of grass is by far the most essential element of beauty on the grounds of a suburban house. aerate. In the front we have cut down on the grass by creating a large “natural area” that we mulched and planted flowering bushes. restore attention. Because my parents are homeowners in a neighborhood with a strict Homeowners Association. There is also a small garden with a bench and a small water feature. prevent soil erosion. we have been steadily loosing the battle of keeping the yard full of thick luscious. Influential landscape designers were also publishing books encouraging homeowners to believe that having a lawn was the respectable thing to do. cutting down on the size of their lawn. many people have begun to experiment with unconventional types of lawns. and your flowers its not too promiscuous decoration. I began to realize how difficult it is to keep a lawn going. elevate mood and make people feel better about life in general. Lawns can benefit the environment: they take in carbon dioxide. we use potentially harmful chemicals to care for our lawns. but as the years went by. The traditional grass lawn deprives native pollinators and honeybees of food and habitat. that it is “ ‘an emerald carpet’ connecting the residences in a neighborhood” (Historic). Frank J. a suburban community in Illinois. letting a mix of native grasses grow. reseed. Year by year. so we have more property than other homes in the neighborhood. “A smooth. and fertilize our whole property. Studies have even shown that green spaces “reduce stress. mow.

instincts.planetnatural. http://blogs.scientificamerican.timberpress. that we should pay attention to the intention behind our actions. that everything in his home is unique. Perhaps we believe that if we can control nature. we can’t keep saying. Web. Scientific America. Web. like we talked about last week. against animal nature. http://www. It is like when Manuela discovered that Ozu does not have two of everything. puts us in the elite category.” We will never be happy that way. Tending to lawns and believing that these unnatural expanses of turfgrass convey status and wealth is unique to humans. our roots in nature. keep setting goals for ourselves and working towards those goals. It becomes popular because it is a status symbol. 22 March 2014. Works Cited Jabr. We should be happy with what we have at the moment. We may have two of everything because that is what we grew up knowing. Outgrowing the Traditional Grass Lawn. 23 July 2013. we can control our animal. or natural. Like we talked about in class last week.3 We have slowly started to give up on the fight: man versus nature. You buy matching sets. Ferris. and manpower to maintain an expanse of lawn. 22 March -the-traditional-grass-lawn/ Lowdown on Lawn History. Web. then we should take some time to rethink how we live our lives. time. She is fighting and building and trying to get 7 Historic Leaders of America. because that is how you are supposed to decorate your house. just like language and consciousness. If we have a lawn and a matching set of everything because that is how we think the world works or because it shows status. Lawns were popular because the elite made them so. Timber Press. like a haiku. I don’t think this will make us happy. “When I have a family and a dog and a house with a white picket fence and a perfect green lawn. but also take time to appreciate the immediate moment. a battle that is fought in Hedgehog. Paloma is always talking about the fight. and then everyone has a lawn because that is what you . 22 March 2014. Another idea I found that connects lawns with themes in Hedgehog is the elite. Human nature. I think this means. Planet Natural. 20 June 2013. http://www. then I will be happy. what makes us man. It shows wealth and status when you are able to spend the money.

. I think we could. the persons in the relationship must genuinely care for and want the other to succeed in life. What I got instead is the definition of friendship. It’s a fascinating topic. but I think Paloma has become quite fond of Renee. As children. It is interesting that you chose to do your research on friendship. Paloma played the role of best friend when she called Renee out on her excuse that she was busy on Ozu’s birthday. in a way. When Paloma says she will be a concierge when she grows up. Hasn’t it only been about week between her first visit to his home for dinner and the movie date they had on a Sunday when she saw the picture and became discouraged? You say there is a line between friendship and love. but whatever the outcome. I think that would be a good research topic too. Personally. “You’re going to be a princess” (281). I don’t know if she loves him. loose them. I did not see where you answered this question. she could be doing it for Ozu’s benefit and not Renee’s. She does want to be a concierge when she grows up and therefore. I think more research is required to know how friendships develop. I think. Friendship requires: a relationship that is grounded in a concern for the welfare of the other. Renee replies. As for your question of whether or not we should consider Renee and Paloma friends. based on your research. the process isn’t as fluid. the persons in the relationship must respond with appropriate emotions to the successes or failures of the other. Did you come across different types of love in your research? There is love that I feel for my family. I don’t know if it’s safe yet to say that Renee thinks of Ozu as a romantic interest. and those may be the strongest relationships. but I think they can exist at the same time. Are they considered the same kind of love. and my significant other. Of course. wants to be just like Renee. Renee obviously wants the best for Paloma. but I think as we grow up. Friendship is. we will go through life forming relationships with people we call friends. We just accept the fact that as we go through life we will make friends. It is tempting because she first felt inferior and unable to continue with the relationship when she saw the picture of Ozu’s wife. something we generally take for granted. keep them. I think it is too early for her to love him.4 Shanice. my friends. we make friends so easily. But how often do we take the time to think about what friendship actually means? Your research question was “how do individuals develop a friendship” but reading through your post. or are they different? They feel different to me.

need people to introduce new words drop old words. socializing. Find some sort of change or we will be more dead than alive. and I don’t understand your example. Now that Ozu has introduced himself and insisted on change. The same. before Ozu appeared. As you said. but in my studies in language I have learned that a language that is not changing. introduce huge change for a culture insuring it will survive. is a dead language.5 Forrest. Try something new. Nadia . If a group of people moved from the coast to the middle of the country I can see that their culture would change. She is coming out of her shell because she is living. She is changing and that is because her environment is changing. I see that a person on the coast would dress differently than a person living in the middle of the country. is not acquiring new words and speakers. Renee is metamorphosing. Tradition is important to culture. so good job on that idea. that I don’t understand the first aspect that can change a society’s culture. but how does that change culture. Do you mean that as you move from one environment to another that you would see a change in culture? Change is an important concept for culture and even language. I think it is safe to say that although Renee is not dead. Everyone is worried about preserving culture and language. she wasn’t really living. there must be change. I think. The lesson we should take from that is that we sometimes we need to switch things up a bit. They want it to stay the same. important ones. Renee is going out. but I never would have thought of researching how inventions affect culture. The first one you mention is a changing environment. and start speaking old words in new ways. For culture to survive. dressing up. Ozu has come and changed the environment of the whole building. and inventions. For languages to survive. however. I have to say. they need change. I did my research on a specific invention (lawns). applies to culture.