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That’s Diane Lewis, whose New York Times editorial “The Toxic Brew in our Yards” about pesticides stated the problem so convincingly and drew kudos from around the gardening world.   I found the video on the website of her Great Healthy Yard Project.

I’ll be contacting Dr. Lewis to congratulate her on the project and the piece in the Times, and introduce her to her cohorts in the Lawn Reform Coalition.  Speaking of which, coalition member Paul Tukey, who’s been sounding the alarm about yard pesticides almost single-handedly for years, has moved on to showcase organic lawn care at a Maryland art museum, so Lewis’s voice is needed now more than ever.

So, anybody have a question for the good doctor/healthy yard advocate?  I have one, for starters.  Is she the American version of Dr. June Irwin, who started the successful campaign to ban such pesticides across almost all of Canada?  Oh, and what’s her plan for cleaning up yards and drinking water across the U.S.?

Posted by

Susan Harris
on May 13, 2014 at 7:12 am, in the category Lawn Reform.


  1. It’s great to see this movement gaining some momentum. Living in a place like North Dakota, it takes a while for ideas/movements to filter through and reach the folks here. Thanks for spreading the word.

  2. So glad you mentioned that, Benjamin! That common bit of misinformation leads to some bad plant/site combinations indeed. And when I hear it – natives are more drought-tolerant – I wonder how it could make sense. Aren’t all plants native to somewhere? And plants that are native to wet places – why would we expect them to be more drought-tolerant than plants native to dry places?

  3. We’ve got to come up with replacement plants for the vast acreage of “lawn” in public spaces. Government buildings are the worst offenders! Only once Mr. & Mrs. Homeowner see the beauty of useful native plants instead of otherwise barren green space will they think about replacing their own lawns with vegetation. Clover is a wonderful alternative; however, not seeing many bees in it this year. Is it too late?

  4. Maybe clover will become more common as a lawn when it’s not covered with bees. I got stung last summer, I think by a wasp that was attracted to my beautiful, low-growing, blooming, spreading thyme. I got multiple stings and it took a month for the swelling and itching to go away. My enthusiasm for this wonderful ground cover that the bees love was killed stone cold dead.

  5. I would like to see these conversations take a different, bigger position — we will never win the battle of convincing people to use less (or not at all) pesticides or fertilizers. There are many people who believe if they were harmful, they wouldn’t be on the market in the first place. We need to make a concerted effort to ban the manufacture of these horrendously dangerous chemicals, and the problem will be solved. Petitions should be circulating to be sent to our lawmakers demanding that these products be taken out of production — but don’t be surprised if the big chemical companies have politicians in their pockets and nothing will be done to protect us. Ahh, the folly of humans…

  6. At our suburban house, we have not used any chemicals on our lawn for the 10 years we have been here and we have great fireflies every summer (and healthy earthworms and butterflies, all types of life). My kids have grown up watching fireflies at dusk every summer of their lives and I am convinced that it is because we do not use chemicals. No one else seems to have fireflies like we do.

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