Letter from Toronto: The Look of Organic Lawns

written 4/15

If I didn’t know there was a pesticide near-ban in Toronto, I wouldn’t be able to tell from the look of lawns and parks around town. Since my parents still bike everywhere though he’s 81 and she’s "in her eightieth year," as she modestly puts it  (they don’t own a car), I see a lot of lawns and parks up close just biking with them to lunch, or the cheese store, or the lawyer’s, or a friend’s house.

What appears in those lawns and parks, though, isn’t all that revealing, because spring here is weeks behind. When I planned the trip, I figured I’d be able to learn a lot from how the lawns and parks look, even if I didn’t manage any official interviews. After all, it’s April, and though spring is barely a rumor back in Montana, it should be well-advanced here.

Or so my memory of high school springs told me.

After several days here though, I cannot claim to have made great progress. My calls are all suspended in some virtual purgatory, and the weather is not co-operating. When I got up this morning (this was ), it was 34 degrees Fahrenheit here, or barely above zero on the Celsius thermometer used in Canada (and in the rest of the world), and 39 in Bozeman. A few days ago the split was even wider: forty something here for the high and seventy-seven in Bozeman.

(Of course, the temperature in Bozeman is now falling and due to continue doing so; by the time I get home it should be back in the normal range, dang it. Where is justice?)

In Toronto, the trees are bare of leaves, though some appear to be thinking about budding; the lawns are green, but only just. Crocuses are blooming everywhere, and the tiny blue-flowered scylla, and on one ride I spotted daffodils are out on a warm south-facing slope, but no forsythia yet. It’s been a long winter here.

I’d read one blog entry before leaving that said Toronto’s parks look awful; that certainly wasn’t my impression, but the dandelions were barely sprouting, much less flowering. So I can’t say I got a good impression of the parks, but in this context that means not that they look bad, but that I didn’t have a good chance to form an impression. Since my next visit may be in October, I’ll hope that fall this year also comes late. If it comes as early as spring is late, I’ll be looking at fallen leaves and brown grass, or even at snow.

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