Medians Returning to a More Natural State Via Budget Cuts. Instead, Let’s Grow Something Productive!

In Colorado Springs, it is no secret that our City is under major budget cuts.  We have made national news a few times in the past year for our miscellaneous cuts.  Our City has cut services, employees, water, closed down community centers, etc.  What is interesting about the situation is the appearance of some of the medians in our City that were once maintained and watered frequently.  The maintenance of these medians is now non-existent, aside from an occasional neighbor or neighborhood association who may take care of it.  This may seem radical, but I believe that this may actually be a silver-lining of our budget cuts (along with more responsible growth in the future, hopefully).  Our medians, pre-economic/budget meltdown, were lush with green Kentucky Bluegrass.  That’s right, KENTUCKY Bluegrass that is far from native in Colorado Springs with our arid climate.  Kentucky Bluegrass does not belong in Colorado Springs and should not have been planted here.  However, we have it in the majority of our city’s lawns and even our City maintained medians. 

*Please excuse the Quality, picture taken through the sunroof.

 

As these medians grow to a “more natural state”, the trees in the median appear to fit the context better.  As I look at them, I feel that the turf actually looks quite graceful with the existence of the seed heads.  This may sound very obscure from a landscape architect, but it pleases me to see the authenticity in contrast to the non-native, forced plant material that we have grown accustomed to.  I do not condone the city’s lack of maintenance of our medians, nor do I encourage the residents to stop mowing and taking care of their own lawns.  However, I feel that this is a lesson to be learned by all about what plant material is appropriate and what is not.

Imagine having a lawn that you do not have to maintain once, twice and sometimes even three times a week.  Imagine how much time that would save in your evenings, weekends that you could be spending with your families.  It is possible, there are many varieties of low maintenance and appropriate lawns available in our region.  Information about lawn alternatives can be found at High Country Gardens and our very own Colorado Springs Utilities.  Better yet, imagine if what we are watering and growing in our lawns was actually useful and productive?  What if instead of growing “grass”, we grew a productive crop?  We could grow all sorts of things in our medians, I’m sure there are plenty of good farmers out there with some fantastic ideas.  Imagine if the State of Kansas grew wheat in the medians of their interstate systems instead of a plant material that is simply there for erosion control and groundcover?  It is just as beautiful, but yet it is actually productive in our society. 

Instead of paying our City employees to simply mow the lawn that just grows back again, why not take care of the crops?  Imagine if the medians in downtown Colorado Springs were covered with mint?  It would look AND smell Amazing!

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