City Cast

Why We Should Turn the National Mall Wild

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on August 23

What if the National Mall looked more like this? (southtownboy/Getty Images)

What if the National Mall looked less like a giant soccer field and more like the picture above? Opinion writer and gardener Alexander Nazaryan recently shared his vision for the National Mall: replacing it with a wildflower meadow stretching from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol.

Nazaryan says it would “not only beautify what is surely our dullest national park, but also signal to millions of visitors that the lawn culture it symbolizes is no longer feasible in a 21st century.”

The Lincoln Memorial area would be left for large gatherings and events, while the 18 acres east of the Washington Monument would be a mix of lilies, poppies, and bluebonnets.

National Mall green

Looking a little dull. (jtstewartphoto/Getty Images)

Nazaryan argues that traditional lawns are an ecological disaster, taking up precious water and leaching chemicals into the soul. Wildflowers have the opposite effect, attracting pollinators, cool temperatures on the National Mall, and reserving water.

However, some readers went to Reddit, saying this vision of the National Mall is a little too idealistic, and more importantly, impractical.

“That section of the Mall has a lot of cut-across traffic. The chances of a wildflower meadow surviving are slim.”TsuDhoNimh2

“The National Mall gets crowded. It’s a gathering place for large events. It’s okay to oppose residential lawns, but I support the lawns at the mall.” - blergsforbreakfast

Do you think wildflowers on the National Mall could work? What do you envision for the space?

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