Are you a snob or a scrub?

June 29, 2009|By TIM ROWLAND

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Thank heaven I have lived to see the days when Washington County is on the brink of adopting a comprehensive weed ordinance. I was afraid I might miss that one.

I like the idea of outlawing weeds, I really do. For all I care, the county can come out any day it wishes and throw my entire rose garden in prison.

But it sounds easier said than done. Incidentally, I have found the key to a totally weed-free vegetable garden: Don't plant any vegetables. Then you can just till the whole shebang every two weeks, and voila. Technically, it's still a vegetable garden because if I planted any, that's where they'd go.


But the county is more concerned with subdivisions, where some have promoted more eco-friendly lawns by letting nature take its course. This method is opposed by many homeowners who believe that nature clearly doesn't know what it's doing, and left to its own devices will populate the space with all kinds of noxious flora.

Still, a natural setting is an asset for birds -- if you like birds -- and other creatures that can't subsist on Scott's Turf Builder alone.

So I can see the county's dilemma. I am a man of compromise, however, and I don't see why you can't have it both ways. Why not, while it is in its planning phase, designate a subdivision as a pro-weed or anti-weed community?

You could have your choice -- live in a snobdivision or a scrubdivision.

In the snobdivision, all grass must be 2.517 inches high and all dandelions must be shot. Those lawns will be havens for chemicals, wanton water overuse and croquet courses.

Lawns in the scrubdivision will be a haven for bumblebees, woodland creatures and decomposing corpses of missing winos.

In the snobdivisions, residents would have 2.14 children per family, drive minivans and live in homes four times larger than necessary with at least one architectural feature from every genre from Victorian to neoclassical. Bonus points would be assigned to houses with big Georgian columns holding up a Greek portico trimmed in gingerbread.

In the scrubdivision, residents would be required to live in a yurt -- bonus points for a bank of solar panels 40 yards long that would generate enough electricity, over time, to power the organic bread maker. They would have no children, or if they did, they would be procured by way of a Kampuchean adoption agency and given the names of Butterfly and Truth. Vehicular choices would be limited to a Prius or a recumbent bicycle.

Snobdivisions would be ruled by assault-weapons-toting members of the community homeowners' association, which would write tickets for tricycles left unattended in the driveway, Christmas lights left up past Dec. 27 and unattractive mailbox flags. Disputes would be settled by lawsuit, with the loser appealing all the way to the Supreme Court.

Scrubdivisions would be ruled by loosely drawn articles of confederation based on mutual support and consideration of other people's sensibilities. For example, if your neighbor loses his job, you must quit yours to prevent his feelings of inadequacy, which could drive him into a shame spiral. Disputes would be settled based on who could do the most consecutive bong hits.

Unless, of course, that practice is banned by the county's new weed ordinance.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at Tune in to the Rowland Rant video at, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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