Saturday, December 16, 2006


What a difference mowing the lawn makes.

I sometimes lament having to bring my nursery to my house and burying my garden with it. Beginning behind the Philippine Poinsettia and around the corner of the deck where the bulk of my yard lies are thousands of potted plants. The effect it creates, while lush is not quite the same as a broad oval lawn surrounded by deep beds overflowing with flowering plants.

The two narrower portions of the yard were kept as is for their wide grass paths. The large bed below the deck had always been a stock bed of perennials lined in rows and that stayed the same.

My lawn is always the last one to get mowed. When it gets shaggy after being ignored for two or three weeks it begins to blend in with the beds and the whole place looks like an overgrown collection of plants that has run amok.

Mowing the lawn momentarily reminds me that indeed there is still a garden here. At least on two sides of the house.

The lawn has crept about a foot into the beds and I am no longer cutting it back hard to keep it at bay. The rows of perennials will all be dug up, potted and sold. The wide path will become a bigger lawn.

It is fortunate that the grass is Centipede, Eremochloa ophiuroides. It forms a dense turf that out competes weeds and stays relatively short so I can have the luxury of not mowing it for weeks at a time without it getting outrageously tall.

First I edge the lawn. Anything that gets stirred up from the beds then gets ground up with a mulching gas powered, smoke belching mower. I get to wear ear plugs and meditate. I go over it until everything is finely ground and is no longer visible on the lawn. If it has been a while since the last haircut it can take a few passes over each row.

I have never once in fifteen years fertilized this grass or sprayed it with an herbicide or pesticide.

When it is mowed and looking pretty this is the kind of pure sod lawn that people struggle so hard to have. I just picked the right kind of grass for my area.

Maybe it really does take a lawn to have a proper garden.


Pam/Digging said...

A lawn or paved areas---yes, they do add something essential to the garden. Maybe you have to have some non-garden in order to appreciate the garden?

Anyway, your garden (and lawn) look beautiful.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

The garden philosophers will call it the negative space. Be it lawn or paving, the width of an ample path or proper spacing between plants, the empty air we look through over a distance is what gives the plants and hardscape in a garden lines, shape and form.