After a July that brought thirteen days during which temperatures reached over 90 degrees, combined with a measly 0.62″ of rainfall in the Boston area according to the National Weather Service, brown lawns in Wellesley are having a moment, and maybe even a proud one at that. After all, how better to virtue signal, “in this house we believe climate change is real,” than by taking the sprinkler system offline and letting nature take its course? Seems more authentic to us than plunking down a sign with a long list of strident phrases.
Lately as we drove around the various neighborhoods of Wellesley, manicured green lawns certainly were in evidence, but seemed to be in the minority. One reason could be that the town hasn’t made it effortless for homeowners to keep the grass green on either side of the fence. Restrictions put in place last spring mandated an alternate-day outdoor watering schedule for homes and businesses, a ban on outdoor watering between 9am and 5 pm, and a request to reduce the amount of outdoor watering time by 20 percent.
Could the tide be turning against the perfect green lawn as the ultimate outdoor status symbol? It’s too early to call brown Wellesley lawns a trend, but the situation bears watching. It’s not too late to join in. Although the long-term forecast calls for more civilized temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and it looks like some rainclouds are on the horizon, summer is far from over. Your lawn can still transition to a beautiful brown expanse, a nonverbal embodiment of your feelings about water conservation.
But for those who simply must have their yard signs, can we suggest this one: “The lawn is dormant, but our commitment to the environment is wide awake.”
From the archives (2011): Who says Wellesley is a dry town?