Saturday, 16 March 2013

The garden in March ~ a new lawn

When we moved to this house the thing I liked most about the garden was that there were no lawns.

Mowing the lawn at the old house had become my bĂȘte noire, mainly because the front and back gardens were both lawned and it was a job I absolutely detested. By the time I'd cut the lawns, tidied and strimmed the edges I'd had enough of the garden and never did anything else.

The back garden in this house has a combination of bark chippings, paving and gravel. It's been easy to maintain but last summer we realised that it wasn't particularly dog or sunbathing friendly.  I was reluctant to admit it but what we really needed was a bit of grass.

So, this week we got a new lawn. Only a small one mind, I want to be able to mow it in 20 minutes or less, so the area in front of the raised deck area seemed perfect.

This is what is looked like before. A bit boring to be honest, but low maintenance.

It's not a huge area, but it gets the full sun and will be a good place to sunbathe (if we get a decent summer, that is).

I didn't lay the new turf myself. Oh noooooo....I don't think my back would be able to cope with that, so I hired Colin, a local gardener, to do it for me. I've used him before and his prices are reasonable and I knew he'd do a good job. I know it's a luxury but if I'd had to do it myself it wouldn't get done.

The finished lawn looks a bit stripey but it hasn't bedded in yet. Since it went down last week it has rained everyday, which is quite convenient really as it needs to be kept watered. Sorry everybody else!

While Colin was here, he also had a look around and told me the names of some of the previously unknown shrubs and plants. I wrote them down quickly before I forgot them!  He also gave me some pruning tips - which I could have done with last month - but which will come in handy next spring.

silk tassel bush (garrya elliptica)

He thought I'd done a decent job with the roses, but had made a pig's ear of this silk tassel bush (garrya elliptica) - eek! But to be fair, he's right. I'd attacked it with secateurs and loppers thinking I would cut it right down, but then realised it didn't look that bad once I'd cut a lot of growth out of it. Unfortunately, I hadn't done it very well but it should recover. Colin told me how to remedy some of the mess I'd made *blushes* which I did as soon as he'd gone.

Leycesteria formosa

The good news though is that the Flowering Nutmeg bush (Leycesteria Formosa) has plenty of new growth on it after the severe hacking trim I gave it. More tips from Colin means that next time I'll cut the stems on an angle and closer to each node. I'm learning all the time.

While he was here I also asked him if he could remove the root of the mahoosive shrub that's currently on death row, and he although had a good go at digging it up,  he's going to have to return next week with his 'special tool' (stop sniggering). By the way, he thought it might be an elderberry bush but I have no idea.

So, plenty going on and plenty to do. I'm glad to see the return of the very lovely Monty Don and Gardeners' World on Friday evenings too - I need all the advice I can get.