'Environmental Enlightenment' By The American Roadside

<p>Many states are choosing native plants for the 12 million acres of roadsides and median strips around the country to save on maintenance costs and provide wildlife habitat. Polls show the public prefers the appearance of non-native species.</p>
September 4, 2007, 10am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan
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"...their credo is, Get the mowers out of the 12 million acres of roadsides and median strips around the United States, and let the wildflowers and grasses grow.

Roadsides, they say, are the national front porch. Why, then, should they look like an English formal garden or a Scottish golf course? Why shouldn't they mimic the land as it was before highways?"

"Roadsides fulfill a variety of engineering functions. They must provide clear lines of sight and easy drainage. As for aesthetics, a Delaware poll showed that the public prizes neatness more than nativeness.

And so the pushers of native plants must fight endless battles with their economic and aesthetic opponents: turf-grass vendors, lawn mower jockeys who make a living cutting 20-foot median swaths in the summer sun, or garden clubs that favor manicured beds of tulips, poppies and lilies over meadow grasses..."

Thanks to ASLA: The Dirt

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Published on Friday, August 31, 2007 in The New York Times
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