Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Grassed off

Grass. It's just so plain isn't it? Unimaginative in name and character. There's a reason we call it a lawn out the back. A lawn suggests class and croquet. It's what the aristocracy had. Well, actually the aristocracy had sunken lawns. (Before you go getting ideas, they also had the space in which to make it look good. If you were to try it, it would look like a bunker. So don't).

And it's not called the Lawn Tennis Association for nothing. Even boutique festivals have lawns. The End of the Road festival at Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset had a garden stage where you could watch bands sat on a sumptuous lawn. None of this Glastonbury 'turf turning to mud quicker than you can say Bono' nonsense.

And yes, turf. The stuff that makes grass sound positively upper class. Turf is disposable. Rough, ready, kicked out at closing time. And it's menacing older cousin, astroturf will scrape your shins to bits should you dare to play hockey or 5-a-side on it's blades (aptly named for once).

I have a small, ahem, 'lawn' out the back. But it's a bit rough, overgrown with weeds. It's not even big enough to justify a normal lawnmower, just a strimmer, which scatters the dandelion seeds more vigorously with each cut as this despairingly bad photo from last year shows (just ignore the ladder and don't even ask why there is a photo with no artistic merit that isn't even straight, of a ladder on an overgrown lawn): 

I've thought about re-sowing it, but to me it's an almighty project and I don't know how long I'll be in this flat, so it would perhaps be a bit generous on my part. If we were guaranteed hours of hot blazing barbequing body tanning sunshine for at least 6 months a year, I'd reconsider.

On Sunday I 'popped' back to Cambridge for my mum's birthday, which we celebrated down the road from my parents at my brother and sister-in-laws home. It used to be my grandparents house, home to the finest back garden vegetable patch known to anyone until my grandad could no longer keep it going. He grew everything anyone could ever want to grow. And greengages.

Steadily, Matt and Lucy are recreating a new garden to suit a young family and one of Matt's recent tasks was to reinstate part of the 'original' lawn (ie the only but that wasn't part of the vast vegetable garden.  I couldn't quite believe just how much grief seemed to have gone into getting some grass up, and dare a certain little 2-year-old stray into this area, daddy would not be happy. In fact dare a certain 33 - year - old do the same, younger brother would have had no qualms in shouting "get off my lawn!" 

You see, he has managed to successfully oversee the first shoots of growth and has got protective. I don't blame him:

Even growing ubiquitous grass can stir up the most instinctive emotions. With any luck, a couple more guest posts will be on their way...


Foxglove Lane said...

Lovely post Tom, and love the grass shot!

linniew said...

Oh, doesn't baby grass look fragile! It's doing well though. Do stay off it so you don't get disciplined--

And nice ladder by the way.

elaine rickett said...

Being 'precious'about grass is a bit of a 'man-thing'- I quite like a bit of rough (if you know what I mean).

Hapless gardener said...

What great comments, thank you all!

Foxglove Lane, enjoyed taking the festival grass shot, lying in the midday sun with surrounded by the music, friends and a cool beer! Can't believe it's autumn already.

Linnie, don't worry the grass is safe from me - I live on the other side of the country! I'll pass your compliments on to the ladder!

Elaine, I couldn't possibly comment!!

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.