Award winning landscape designer and author, Xanthe White, has been Daltons brand ambassador for over ten years. She has plenty of gardening experience and knowledge to impart to home gardeners and professionals alike. Here Xanthe shares her passion for gardening, along with tips, advice and gardening secrets even the most weathered gardener may not know.
The dear old lawn has had a hard time of late falling out of fashion and favour; being replaced by plastic substitutes and in our busy cities becoming a scarcity as every inch is devoured by buildings and concrete drives. If you want to be master of your own lawn now is the time to take it in hand. The reason autumn is preferred is we have enough warmth combined with plentiful rain in most areas to get the seed germinating and some healthy growth before winter edges in upon us.
My own lawn has taken a hammering this summer as my husband and I decided to pull out the old deck which was creaking with rotting boards and rebuild it DIY styles. As most of you will have experienced, these projects roll on and beneath the slowly moving pile of decking timber, my lawn which was already only just a lawn by definition, was not more than a shadow of what a proper lawn should be.
My first attempts at levelling it out were foiled by the neighbours chicken who snuck over the fence a day out from sowing and had a mighty scratch around. The sparrows too were quick to take note of my efforts and join in the feast so my lawn now currently looks like a teenager’s new beard, somewhat patchy and sparse. I am determined to achieve a lush lawn, be it peppered with daisies and dandelions because for me, a lawn is a wonderful place to lie on the cool earth in summer and talk with family and count the clouds as they pass by. I know for some; a lawn is a place for activity and action and mine though small, does occasionally hear the sound of a cricket bat cracking a ball into the trees or get rolled in a game of competitive croquet between Pimms and cucumber sandwiches.
I’ll not be persuaded by those that suggest astro-turf is in anyway a substitute for a real lawn. For serious sports perhaps, but for the home garden; while green and cool it might look, on the feet it is hot and sticky. Sure, you might not have to cut it but nor does it smell fresh after a rain. It might look perfect year-round but you will never be able to make a daisy chain with the children.
I understand the revolt against the garden lawn because perhaps we had become lazy and used lawn to fill in the gaps where we had simply run out of imagination. But now our imaginations are making better use of our smaller garden spaces, we should also keep space for these old traditions. Somewhere for the worms to leave their castings and the crickets to cause us bother, but best of all somewhere to meet in the middle in a busy life where a day counting clouds is a treasure we all hold dear.