I am addicted to grass. Not the kind some would legalize. I'm talking about suburbia's expanses of manicured lawns that look like small golf courses.
Growing up in Southern California, I lived in neighborhood yards -- welcoming playgrounds where we practiced somersaults and tumbled toward adulthood.
And that's why my husband and I ended up with a landscape covered with grass. Lots of it. At first it was delightful -- thick, weedless and deeply green. But soon reality struck.
Our gardener said we had to hire a company to control the weeds, improve the color and apply special fertilizers, plus aeration and grub and insect control. Vast amounts of water were required to slake the lawn's thirst, and much of it pooled wastefully in the gutter. The animal kingdom delivered the final blow -- crows, squirrels and raccoons picked at, dug in and rolled up the grass, searching for the perfect meal and mocking our efforts to control them.
We clung to verdant splendor another year until our gardener pronounced our lawn beyond redemption. We had a choice: replace it with new grass or something else. A horticulturist offered a solution. Plant native perennials to please the eye and cure my grass addiction. We signed the contract and all but a tiny patch of backyard grass disappeared.