As a kid, I HATED yardwork. We’d come back from a family camping trip to the beach or woods or mountains, where there was NO yardwork, just nature’s beauty.
And back home, the shrubs and lawn awaited us. They had grown shaggy in our absence and had to be beaten into submission by lawnmowers, hedge-trimmers, rakes (at least leafblowers did not exist back then, which was a mercy).
I hated all the work and fuss that was for nothing except complying with suburban cultural norms.
When I grew up, I got into learning about where our food comes from. This led me to spend a bit of time working on small farms. Funny, THAT “yardwork” didn’t bother me at all, because it produced FOOD (and community).
Later, as a climate activist and permaculture designer, I became aware of our damaged soil, damaged water-cycle, declining biodiversity. And learned that a lot of the damage could be mitigated or slowed by replacing toxic manicured landscaping with native and/or adapted trees & plants.
Honestly, I’m a sucker for beauty. Because I was privileged to have early childhood exposure to wild nature, my brain got “formatted” in such a manner that I could never see manicured landscapes as beautiful. To me they were ugly in a cold, smooth, creepy way, plus meant a lot of work and a curtailment of time I’d rather spend walking, reading, daydreaming.
As an adult I’m pretty much that same kid. My yard isnt 100% native, but it is a mini nature park that is a sanctuary and creative incubator for all who spend time here.
Doug Tallamy’s “Homegrown National Park” movement definitely motivated me to step up my efforts. I have started to include this topic in my repertoire of public talks that I give to congregations, neighborhood groups, permaculture classes, etc.