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There's more from Dale Connelly at The Morning Show


by Dale Connelly, 4/28/00

Dc: This is DCR. It's not the news. This is the season when a lot of people rededicate themselves to lawn care perfection. But even as the work begins, many are questioning the impossible standards we're being asked to uphold. Ben Green has always had a personal connection with his lawn.

Ben: I remember the moment so clearly. I looked out at the lawn and I thought … man … I've let it go to seed. It was … flabby. Disgusting.

Dc: When he felt his lawn had gotten out of shape, it didn't take too long for Ben Green to decide to seek professional help.

Ben: A lot of people hire someone else to come in and deal with everything for them. I'm not like that. I AM my lawn.

Dc: What he did was unusual at the time, but now more and more people, urban AND suburban, are hiring a personal lawn coach.

(sfx: outdoor summer morning under)

Cheryl: (like a drill instructor) Ok … I want you to fertilize this section of the property double time! Set your spreader!

(sfx: clunk clunk)

Ben: Spreader set!

Cheryl: Check your nitrogen!

Ben: Nitrogen set!

Cheryl: You'll proceed in a criss cross pattern! Over / back / over / back / over / back! Starting now! Go go go go go go go go go!

(sfx: rolling wheels, rattling, under)

Ben: I love Cheryl. She's my coach … she's my inspiration. She has high expectations but then so do I.

Dc: But isn't yard work supposed to be … enjoyable?

Ben: Years when I've enjoyed it I've had a crummy lawn. With Cheryl, we've taken the lawn to a much higher level. I hate the work, but after it's done … then … I kinda enjoy it. Like I'm in elite company, you know?

Cheryl: These guys out there, I'm telling them to Aerate! Aerate! Aerate! And I can see in their eyes that they're about to give up, but if they keep on pushing …. That sets them apart. I mean, look around. Not everyone has what it takes.

Ben: The morning we went on crab grass patrol, crawling on our bellies … digging out each blade and moving on in the broiling hot sun … bees were everywhere, there had been a St. Bernard living in the yard … I thought I would pass out. If you had told me six months ago I would get through that kind of ordeal, I would have laughed at you. But Cheryl made it happen.

(sfx: outdoor crossfade w/ sprinkler)

Dc: The search for lawn perfection is taking a toll. Just ask Amber Grainwave of Yards for You and Me.

Amber: We are killing our middle aged men. This ideal lawn we put in front of them … day in and day out … golf courses on TV, the huge expanses of pitch on those British public TV dramas … even the South Lawn in our own nation's capitol! This is a standard of lawn care that's almost impossible for the average person with average grass and average soil. They pile on the chemicals and work themselves to a frazzle … and some of them do get perfect turf, just in time to be buried beneath it.

Dc: The experts say a landscape arts hobby can be healthy if kept within reasonable limits, but if you are, or if you know somebody who is too involved with their lawn … they need to seek help.

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