Clover lawn 2020.

My mom’s home when she was older. She hadn’t kept up with watering her lawn but it was weedless. This is the house I grew up in from 1959 to 1975 when I came to Chicago.

I always thought of Cleveland as flat. In retrospect, that is not the case. This is the hill that I tested my newly found skill of drivng stick shift. I so often got stopped on the bottom of that hill in my sister’s Ford with the ‘H’ form manual transmission found on the steering column.

My current lawn. If you expand the photo, you will see the clover that bees just love!

Grass is a funny thing.

When I was growing up in Parma, a Berwynesque type of suburb southwest of Cleveland, Ohio, grass was a funny topic. We had moved from Cleveland and a home that my mom and dad had totally rehabbed from a poorly maintained home, a real sow’s purse that was transformed into silk, to Parma. It was after my dad died and we were involved in white flight. She sold the home and used the money to buy a smaller, newer one, one that was built the same year I was born, 1951. I have to say that it was one of the worst homes I have ever been in…a kitchen that is a disaster size-wise, a tiny dining area off of it, two bedrooms on the main floor and a possible one upstairs (which we had). Designed with absolutely no logic right after WWII with green wood that would NOT maintain paint on it for love nor money, and with a side door right on the driveway making it almost impossible if you wanted to eat outside, a tiny yard, a postage stamp sized lawn, and a basement. The basement, by the way, was often used for the large amount of family gatherings we had there including Thanksgiving. I spent from 1959 to 1975 there.


Lawns were really important. They were so important that the inhabitants of my neighborhood would almost lie in wait with a shotgun if you so much as stepped your pretty little foot on their patch of green. These were generally perfect lawns, not a weed, perfectly green, perfectly watered, and more often than not decorated as malbor’s with tchotchkes galore, especially chrome balls and pink flamingos. Trust me, chemicals were de rigueur to get that green.

Note my lawn: filled with clover, even some ubiquitous yellow flowering weed (with tiny yellow flowers that look clover-like). I remove the plantain and the dandelions, but the rest is natural. The only chemical I put on it is ash from the fireplace. I rarely water it and the bees are omnipresent.

I am sure that Mr. Monsanto, aka malbor, is not happy with my lawn, which in my Parmesan heritage, would not even be considered such. My lawn has not seen chemicals in well over twenty years and any attempt on my part to recreate lawns from my past well over. His own respiratory illness has most assuredly been complicated by his chemical dependence in his outdoor landscaping venture.

I think more people should follow my lead.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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