Tag Archive: lawns


My kind of mower....

My kind of mower….

Mowing-

Cut your mowing time in half by simplifying the design of your lawn. Avoid any awkward corners and fussy shapes by converting them to sweeping curves that are easy to cut without stopping and starting. Also remove any obstacles such as over hanging shrubs and specimen trees that will slow you down as you mow. If you have several specimens in a lawn, link them together in a single island bed.

Further information:

Mowing lawns- RHS

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener

 

A mowing strip using block pavers

A mowing strip using block pavers

Edging-

Keep edges to a minimum by making the lawn shape simple. Install a mowing strip (a hard surface level with the lawn) along the edges of the lawn so that the lawn mower can trim right over the edge. Any awkward tufts of grass and rough areas can be dealt with quickly using a nylon -line trimmer.

Further information:

Mowing strips

Installing a mowing strip

Lawns in small gardens

How to choose a lawn shape

Source: ‘Short Cuts to Great Gardens’ (Reader’s Digest 1999)

Old School Gardener

 

6934950_origOne more extract from a book I bought in a charity shop in the summer (apologies for the gender stereotyping)…..

The Basic law of Weedlock:

The best training for gardening is marriage.

corollaries;

1. Behind every successful gardener is an astonished woman.

2. About the only way to get a gardener nowadays is to marry one.

3. Gardening is a process by which a man finds out what sort of husband his wife thinks she ought to have married.

Every Wife’s Lament:

Gardening expands to exclude all more interesting possibilities.

Law of The Unwelcome Arrival of Spring:

There is nothing so harrowing to the soul of the average married man as the first growth of lawn grass.

lawn-mower-manFrom : ‘Mrs. Murphy’s Laws of Gardening’ – Faith Hines (Temple House books, 1992)

Old School Gardener

 

fall-lawn1Here’s another extract from a book I bought in a charity shop in the summer…..

Besom’s Truism:

No matter how much dust you sweep under the carpet, you still can’t sweep leaves under the lawn.

Laws of Lawn Clearance:

1. Any lawn cleared thoroughly of course grass and moss will reveal an area of mud supporting deep-rooted plantains.

2. Mud patches never need mowing.

3. The cleared lawn reveals that there was no cultivated grass in the first place.

Digital Law:

Flymos like toes.

 lawn cut fun

From : ‘Mrs. Murphy’s Laws of Gardening’ – Faith Hines (Temple House books, 1992)

Old School Gardener

 

Using focal points- including the more unusual- is an effective way of drawing the eye away from the edges of a space
Using focal points- including the more unusual- is an effective way of drawing the eye away from the edges of a space

Sometimes, especially with awkwardly shaped or smaller gardens, it makes sense to try and draw the eye from the outer boundaries and create a more pleasing and, apparently larger space. Here are seven ‘top tips’ for achieving this:

1. Put square and rectangular patios and lawns at 45/30/60 degrees to the side boundaries or use shapes for these and other flat areas which contrast with the outer shape of the garden.

2. Set paths to run at an angle to the garden boundaries in zig zags or dog leg style.

3. Make paths curved, meandering from side to side.

Paths- including grass- and the border edges they create can be meandering to take the eye on a journey..
Paths- including grass- and the border edges they create can be meandering to take the eye on a journey..

4. Fix structures such as trellis, pergolas and arches or plant hedges across the garden to interrupt the view and to create separate compartments.

5. Place groups of tall shrubs or trees at intervals in the line of sight to block views across or down the garden.

6. Use climbers and large shrubs, especially evergreens, to disguise solid formal boundary fences and to break up the straight lines, particularly the horizontal ones of fence/ wall tops.

7. Carefully place focal points to draw the eye in various chosen directions, positioning them so that they can be seen from different places in the garden.

Use climbing plants to cover up and soften hard boundaries

Use climbing plants to cover up and soften hard boundaries

Related article: Arbours and Pergolas in the Garden- 7 Top Tips

Old School Gardener

In this latest article about different garden styles I turn my attention to Country Gardens, trying to capture their essence in a few words and images.

Country Gardens are usually fairly large (in some senses they can be seen as a larger version of the Cottage Garden). They tend to follow a pattern of straight-line formality or other clear geometrical shape near to the house, with increasing informality as you move further away, where the garden becomes more and more integrated with the surrounding countryside. Likewise, planting tends to be more formal near the house (possibly featuring topiarised shrubs), but becomes more naturalistic towards the edges. Other key features of Country Gardens are:

  • Luxuriant planting

  • Large pools and/or streams

  • Views into the surrounding landscape, sometimes ‘framed’ by boundaries or planting

  • Sweeping lawns

  • Hedging and other screens that might divide up the garden into different areas

  • Natural materials, especially as the garden moves away from the house

  • Garden structures, furniture or specimen plants that act as eye catchers/ focal points

Let me know what you think makes a Country style garden, and if you have some pictures I’d love to see them!

Other posts in the series:

Modernist Gardens

Formal Gardens

Mediterranean Gardens

Cottage gardens

Old School Gardener

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lawn - credit RHS

I thought I’d offer to (try to) answer any gardening queries you have as a regular blog feature on Old School Garden. In the comments on my recent review of the blog, several people mentioned the value of the gardening tips I include in some of my posts, so I thought I’d try out something a bit more focused and regular – a sort of ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ (or GQT for the initiated!).

I was prompted to do this by a book I came across the other day, whilst rummaging in my local charity shop (a great place to pick up gardening books, I find). Though about 20 years old it still seems to ‘pack a punch’ so I’m going to use it to kick off the GQT series! It’s called ‘1000 Handy Gardening Hints’ and covers a wide range of topics, so hopefully it should be useful to someone out there in blogland!

topdressThe first question, as you can see, concerns lawns and ‘top dressing’. Here’s my take on what the ‘Handy Hints’ book says, plus a few thoughts of my own:

Top dressing usually means applying a fertiliser, particularly a nitrogenous one, to the surface of soil bearing a crop, usually in concentrations of about 18 grams per square metre. In lawn management top-dressing means the application of suitable ‘bulky material’ to the surface of the lawn at the rate of 1 – 3.5 kg per square metre. The material should  ideally be a made up or ready-made compost (of 6 parts medium grade, lime free sand to 1 part granulated peat or other organic material and 3 parts topsoil). This should be well worked into the lawn by means of a drag brush or ‘lute’ to make the surface smooth.

I remember my Dad (who was the Green Warden at our local Lawn Bowls Club around 50 years ago)  spiking the grass surface before hand to provide some holes into which the top-dressing could be brushed (I also remember helping him to do this as an enthusiastic youngster!). Whilst this fed the grass it also helped to improve aeration and drainage. Top dressing can also help to even out dips in the surface. If you want to get the ‘Bowling Green ‘ effect, now is the ideal time to be applying top-dressing to your lawn!

Here’s a video that you might find helpful.

And you can find out how to make your lawn care more sustainable at Wild About Gardens

So that’s the first session of ‘GQT’ – what did you think?

I’ll try out a regular weekly session, so if you have any questions you’d liked answered then email me and I’ll do my best to feature your question and hopefully provide an answer!

My email address: nbold@btinternet.com, and put ‘GQT question’ in the subject line, please.

Old School Gardener

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