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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