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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lush life

A benefit of the constant fog and rain is the lushness of everything, including the hostas that tried to eat Owls Head. Indeed, we fear for the health of the plants adjacent to the monsters now topping four feet in diameter. The lawns have not looked this green in July in memory, and even the rugosa rose at the edge of the ocean garden, which seemingly had died over the harsh winter, is putting forth new shoots out of the dead brown sticks, including some runners growing where they shouldn't, in the middle of the lupine.

I'm paying a little extra attention to lawns these days, having made a trip a couple of weeks ago to the half rural, half suburban country east of Cleveland, Ohio (to celebrate with gathered family my parents' 60th wedding anniversary in a lovely house on a pond) and seeing how the folks out there do grass. Land acquisition is clearly not the expensive issue there as it is in the East. The lots are huge, several acres at least, and the houses low, sprawling ranches invariably set at the very back of the lot, and the rest is grass, mowed to within an inch of its life. One particularly stark example set all of this in the middle of a corn field.

I imagine the idea here is to prove that you have tamed your part of the wilderness for all to see, and that you are sufficiently well-off in time and money to be able to afford the riding mower and the massive weekend hours required for such control. We don't have quite the same opportunity in the East. In Maine for example, what extra space exists around a house is usually filled with shrubs, or trees, or gardens, or rusting cars. The riding lawn mower is reserved for gentleman farmers from Massachusetts. The wilderness is our friend.

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