Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brown is the new green!

The latest issue of our local newspaper proclaimed “A Brown Lawn is a Water Conscious Lawn.” Hey, I am so there.

This morning I mowed the front yard for the – I kid you not – FIRST TIME this year.  One huge benefit to being in a months-long drought: grass does not grow. You can infer from this statement that I do not water the yard.

Mowing the aforementioned front lawn went something like this:  clouds of dust billowing and greenhouse gas emissions spewing while I trotted round and round mowing down sparse dead seed stalks of weeds that sprouted after the last rain of substance (in June). Afterwards, I was probably unrecognizable. The sweat coating my body combined with flying dust to create - mud.

Twice I have planted native grass seed out front. Alas, because of my stinginess with water, the tenacity of the King Ranch bluestem, and the scarcity of soil, the native grasses have not flourished. Even if they had, they would be dormant and brown under our current conditions.

Instead I have clumps of dormant KR, a few withered wildflowers, lots of bare dirt, assorted bones scattered by the dog, and of course, rocks. Lovely!

I find that I’m scanning lawns as I drive through towns, proud when I see parched grass. I’d like to stop and put a gold star on the front doors of those houses. But I guess that would be strange.

When I visited my youngest sister in an Austin suburb yesterday (she is also an avid gardener), I found that she, too, has been stingy with water. Her rationale:  she recently bought a Prius, so she has to be green now.

In my ‘hood, we are all on wells and very few people water lawns. Generally, you cannot see yards from the street (we’re a private bunch). There is no pressure to produce that perfect verdant lawn. In fact, there might be more pressure here to let that grass turn brown. We are all scared of dry wells.

So hey, brown is the new green! Be proud of that brown grass! And while you’re surveying your brown lawn, revel in the money you are saving on water bills, fertilizer and gas to power the mower. Enjoy doing something else on Saturday morning. More importantly, know that you are conserving water and doing your part for the planet!

And if you find a gold star on your door, you’ll know what it means.

Favorite spot in the garden:

Well, the garden is hurting. But this little plant got a drink recently, and looks pretty today. I really like the dainty little blooms and tiny red berries, and the leaves have an interesting frilly shape. Pigeonberry (Rivina humilis) is a Texas native, and birds like the berries.


  1. Your weather has been terrible. We have had no rain for weeks, but not your 100° temps. Browning grass here too! I did not mow in three weeks. Now that is a treat.

  2. Your garden looks great. The brown grass is a good foil for the beds.

  3. thanks, I feel better now...I'm the queen of brown.

  4. You have the same kind of 'lawn' that we do. We have a small patch of green grass in the fenced yard. But, outside the fence it's the 'new green'. Makes for a dusty place.
    Stay cool.

  5. GWGT: I do not miss mowing at all!

    @Lona - You always know just the right thing to say!

    @Anon - look for your gold star (or make your own!).

    @Linda - yeah, lawn is kind of a pretentious word for my yard.