My work in these short episodes on the lawn is to alleviate some of the competing anxieties that are placed on us as property owners and managers of the land. It seems “The Lawn” is not part of today’s dream. Yet here we are, with our existing urban and suburban infrastructure, our current model of land use - the neighborhoods are as they were built and there is no going back. It is the form that it is.
The spaces we live in today were built to be open, to be occupied by turfgrass lawns. In these spaces that we have inherited, the people that inhabit them want to give them care, to care for their spaces. I believe many people engage the landscape and garden as being simply “in their domain of caring.” They are tenders of their home spaces and landscape.
The lawns and spaces we have inherited as a form are not something that sprung as a new, raw, and undeveloped idea from the depth of our desiring imaginations. We tenders are good caring people that are taking responsibility for the worlds we inherited and inhabit. Our relationship to the properties we manage are not revolutionary and socially transformational. We all try and balance our ethics, caring, and consumer relationships to the lawns we steward - on the one hand, we have these spaces to care for and on the other, face the possibility that our cares exploit the earth and endanger the health of what we care for. There almost seems to be a paradox for us tenders, where we wish to care for our yards yet the greater narrative surrounding turf keeps hitting us, telling us we are conformists, suburban, and anti-environment.
From Matthew Dore, the "I" voice of Buffalo Horticulture and "The Buff Hort Project."