It's Time to Ditch the Grass on the National Mall

'NYT' essay makes the case for wildflower meadows, as a message against 'Big Lawn'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2023 10:07 AM CDT
An Idea for the National Mall: Wildflower Meadows
After festivals and celebrations in early July 2009, the National Mall is worn from wear, as seen from the top of the Washington Monument facing the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The National Mall is our "dullest national park" in the view of writer and gardener Alexander Nazaryan. In a New York Times essay, he proposes a fix: Replace all that grass with wildflower meadows. Specifically, plant fauna from different parts of the US in each of the eight lawns between 14th and Third streets, which he suggests would result in a pretty cool tourist attraction. "Instead of a grassy monotone, imagine a jazz symphony of color and variety, buzzing with bees, thrumming with life: Mariposa lilies and Dutchman's breeches, California poppies and Texas bluebonnets," writes Nazaryan.

But the idea is about more than aesthetics—it would be a symbolic strike against the outdated and environmentally unfriendly culture of "Big Lawn," he writes. A "riotous wildflower meadow" from the Washington Monument to the Capitol would be a "signal to millions of visitors that the lawn culture it symbolizes is no longer feasible in a 21st century dominated by extreme weather, species loss and forever chemicals." He hopes it would inspire people to return home and replace parts of their own lawns with such wildflower corridors. "That is the kind of National Mall our young century demands." Read the full essay. (More National Mall stories.)

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