April 2011 Issue
Editor's Note: Green Scenes
The lawns told the story. You could drive up and down any street in any Ohio neighborhood and you’d know in an instant who had kids at home and who didn’t. Years before Astroturf was invented — which, my Wikipedia tells me, was in 1965 — you could recognize the homes of the older folks by the Astroturf appearance of their yards.
They were the proud owners of lawns with that crewcut look — what we called “flat top” — that was every barber’s specialty in the 1950s. Their grass was lush and green without the aid of chemicals (that we were aware of, anyway). There were no waves of dandelions to chop up the sea of freshly cut rows.
And they had flowers. Actual flowers. Imagine that.
The lawns of residents with school-age children told a different story. The only “flowers” were those ubiquitous dandelions, which blended in nicely with the yellowed grass. Splotches of bruised earth gave evidence to endless slides from running bases. On surveying the landscape, a less romantic Walt Whitman might have written “Leaves of Weeds.”
Landscape. There’s that word. It seems not so long ago that it applied only to exotic locales such as the vast and picture-perfect countrysides of Switzerland, New Zealand and the American West. Today, however, “landscape” is part of the vernacular in any American neighborhood. And it applies whether there are kids at home or not.
Where I live, for example, there is an unspoken agreement that we all will contribute to the neighborhood “aesthetic.” (Yet another word that would have seemed decidedly out of place where I grew up.) Dog owners dutifully take along the appropriate cleanup equipment with them on their walks. And the neighborhood is abuzz with the sounds of Indy-style lawn mowers every summer Saturday.
And there are flowers. Actual flowers. Lots and lots of them. Many homes, in fact, are encircled with what rightfully could be called bouquets. Mere lawns have given way to landscapes. Imagine that.
No longer can we tell the difference between the homes of the “old folks” and the kids. I often sit outside in the summer and I see no sights and detect no sounds of the neighborhood’s children. Perhaps they are hunkered down with video games in their air-conditioned family rooms. Sad.
But the good news is the lawns — no, landscapes — are incredible. They are works of art created by do-it-yourselfers and professionals. And sometimes a combination of both.
In this month’s cover story, “Joys of Spring,” beginning on page 72, Senior Editor Linda Feagler shows off some of Ohio’s best.
Speaking of Ohio’s best, we are pleased to announce that Jennifer Rogers has been promoted to Managing Editor, Custom Media, for Ohio Magazine
. Jenny, a native of Hilliard and graduate of Ohio University, has been an editor with us since 2008. Among other assignments, in her new capacity Jenny will serve as editor of LongWeekends
magazine which is published twice a year and is received by all Ohio Magazine subscribers as well as additional readership in several surrounding states.