Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Suburbia isn't all neatly trimmed lawns anymore



     The front yard has Queen Anne’s lace and coneflowers, both purple and yellow. Joe-Pye weed and ironweed, hydrangea, phlox and more.
     “We have a lot of milkweed,” said Tina Paluch. “Because we like the butterflies.”
     What her yard doesn’t have a lot of is lawn; only about a quarter is grass, and that is uncut. The rest is covered by wildflowers and what some would call weeds, up to 5 feet tall.
     The small brick house sits next door to Greenbriar Elementary School in my leafy suburban paradise of Northbrook. I’ve been walking by for 16 years, admiring the front yard for both its appearance and for what it symbolizes: a departure from the lockstep green buzz cut most homeowners aspire to. The suburbs get a bad rap as cookie-cutter Levittowns of identical ticky-tacky houses and Astroturf lawns. But look closer and there is individuality there too.
     I’d never seen the people who lived there. The exact moment I was passing the house, thinking, “A real reporter would knock on the door,” a woman rolled her garbage can to the curb. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. I introduced myself.
     Tina Paluch, 50, lives here with her parents, Anne and Jerry, in their late 80s....
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17 comments:

  1. Sorry to go off topic, but why do I suddenly have to answer a survey question when I 'click here' to continue reading your blog?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Suddenly"? Those annoying surveys have been there forever. My apologies, but I don't run the place, I just work there.

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    2. Personally, I try to be a good citizen and put up with a few seconds of clicking as the price of reading Neil's column for free. If I'm in a really sour mood on a given morning, I might answer the questions all wrong to throw off the survey, but usually I'm not so churlish.

      Bitter Scribe

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    3. I think there is a "no reply" choice or better yet, subscribe to the paper.

      Delete
    4. Maida -- I always click on the "Skip Survey" option -- simple.

      SandyK

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    5. I've never been directed to any survey on this site. In addition to the usual anti-spyware and similar stuff, I have Adblock installed on my laptop; maybe that makes the difference.

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  2. Lovely yard.

    Now any thoughts on Blago losing his bid for early release, NS?

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    Replies
    1. I'll post something about this tomorrow.

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    2. I happened to turn on the TV a bit after the verdict & there was his brother complaining about it. But then he was asked when he last talked to Rod & Robert said it was just after he was first sentenced to 14 years.
      Now that's weird. He hasn't visited him or been called by him & he gets 300 minutes a month for the phone.

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  3. The plants that spring up in untended expanses of land are surprisingly pretty. I hope more people go in for them. (Say I as I gaze over my green lawn.)

    Bitter Scribe

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  4. What a beautiful garden! It brightened my day just looking at the photo. When we lived in Westmont my husband didn't want to cut a large lawn in the front, so I planted a lot of plants, shrubs and groundcover. It looked nice, but the groundcover started taking over and choking off everything else in the garden. Where we live now we stuck to the lawn (and small garden) and he got a riding lawnmower!

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  5. Wonderful story! But what do their other neighbors say about the "weeds." And hasn't the Village said anything? Or sued?

    john

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    1. I didn't knock on doors -- didn't want to stir up trouble -- but I imagine there are some unhappy folks. In the spring, I let my vanhoutte spirea hedge bloom white, and it can hang over the sidewalk. Once the police came and said someone had complained and I should trim it.

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    2. The heck with the neighbors and the poisons they put on their lawns!! Then they wonder how they got cancer.

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    3. Lone Wolf: Yeah, ever notice how Chemlawn changed their name to TruGreen or something similarly benign?

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  6. There's a big difference between a well tended wildflower garden like this and a badly maintained lawn overgrown with weeds. We have both in our neighborhood.

    Tom Evans

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I tried the wildflower thing in my tiny backyard. Looked great the first year; the second year I had weeds taller than I am. And evil looking; I was sure they were going to attack at any moment.

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