Wednesday 6 July 2011

A Green Thought

In the Comments under my recent Marbled White post, Mary (a newcomer?) gives a cheering account of the wonderful effects of a relaxed mowing regime in her local park. Clearly a flowery 'meadow' in a municipal setting has a soothing and civilising effect, providing pleasure to the eye (and nose and ear - the scent of flowers, the sound of grasses) and relaxing the mind and body. There may well be deep-seated primal reasons for this - the evolutionary psychologists would no doubt say it's our nostalgia for the savannah (to which I would retort - Phooey!). At a less primal level, I would suggest that the 'natural' look of a meadow puts us in more of a country than a town mood, presenting us with something that looks like a landscape made by nature rather than man - whereas a municipal expanse of close-shaven lawn is evidently man-made and can be seen by the ill-intentioned as a blank canvas on which to express their antisocial tendencies, or a wide open arena in which to act them out. This new mowing regime is doubtless the result of financial strictures, but for once the law of unintended consequences has worked wonders. I hope the various authorities concerned are taking note of the benign effects of cutting back on the mowing. And thank you, Mary.


  1. Gosh, what an honour to figure in your post - and after only my second comment on your blog. I am glad that you were cheered by the account of my local park. I'm not sure, however, that we have financial strictures to thank for the new mowing regime - actually, the local wildlife trust was commissioned by our council to do a study of the park's history and wildlife several years ago. The trust came up with a management plan to “enhance the value of the wildlife site” and recommended the change to the mowing custom. So the current glories of the park haven’t arisen entirely serendipitously as a consequence of current belt-tightening, although I should imagine that it is a happy coincidence that the present management practice probably costs the council less. Another reason that might lie behind the revitalising of the site is the founding last year of a group of volunteers to keep the park in order. They are busy doing good things. And they are very cheap indeed.

    I am indeed a newcomer to your blog and what a pleasure it has been to stumble across it. In particular, I have followed through on some of your book recommendations and must therefore, in my turn, end this comment with a heartfelt thank you for leading me to the astonishing ‘Stoner’ by John Williams.

  2. Ah Stoner - what a wonderful book - so glad you enjoyed it.