THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Dec04

Do I Really Hate Lawns?

Lawns? Huh! Yea….

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing!

Ok, that is not quite right. I’ve just bastardised the song ‘War’ by Edwin Starr. Forgive me that, Edwin.

But I seem to be gaining a reputation as a hater of the lawn, a disliker of the green green grass (of home). This is not strictly true. And here is my defence.

  1. In my garden talks I often suggest the lawn is worth reducing, or even removing completely. This is because I have cut so many lawns in my life that I really can’t be bothered cutting them anymore. They break my back bending down to lift off the bag.
  2. They fill up the compost heap with too much nitrogen, far too quickly in the summer.
  3. They get given too much artificial fertiliser by (franchised) lawn care specialists and often get sprayed with weedkiller to remove broad-leafed weeds. Not my thing.
  4. The grass, in hot weather, is liable to die. Just like many lawns did this summer. Some tough perennials, established in good soil, can replace the yellowing lawn and provide forage for bees. Much better option.

But it was pointed out to me that lawns can do lots of good.

  1. You don’t dig lawns, so the soil below the grass becomes a carbon sink.
  2. They give you a place to sit on the grass.
  3. They set off the herbaceous border beautifully, one complementing and improving the other if well tended.

Yep. I get all of that. They are genuinely good points.

So when I give my garden talks, I try to be a little provocative. Get people thinking about what they could do differently. It makes the talk more interesting, for a start. But it also helps inspire people to feel something. Passion for gardening, inspiring people to see how precious their garden space is, is the key to making our gardens and our landscape a more thrilling place to live. I am happy to be a little provocative, to hopefully get people improving the garden they have and enhancing life.

That is why I simplify my views and say this…

Remove your lawns!

But do I really hate lawns? No, of course not. The answer is all of the things above, in the two lists, but also much more nuanced.

What I really hate is a lawn that is bowling green perfect. Or that looks something like this…

perfect lawns

It speaks of lots of work, lots of chemicals (or at least, of not being allowed to go on it) and of not providing for wildlife. To me, it feels like a dead space, too controlled by the human hand. Yuck.

What I prefer is something like this…

daisy lawns

Full of daisies and clover. Dandelions? Don’t mind if I do, thank you. This is the lawn I like, one that has been used and yet looks green enough. One that gives food to wildlife. One that can survive when the weather gets warm.

It will not be a lawn for the enthusiast.

But lawns are not meant for one person, to show off their skill (and likely their well-stocked financial resources to keep it looking like this) in making it ‘green’ and ‘perfect’. Lawns are a habitat for everything in the garden, from pets to people to the bees that need some food.

So I do not hate lawns. I hate bowling green perfect lawns.

Because what are they good for?

Absolutely nothing!

(Except bowling….)

Feb21

Rosybee: Results Of Her Best Plants For Bees Study

Rosybee, the brilliant plant nursery in Oxford who focus on plants for bees, have published the results of their studies. After 5 years of testing plants and counting honeybees you can see the top performers here… Best Plants For Bees Study We interviews Rosi, the owner of Rosybee nursery years back when she started. Do take a read as it offers great advice on the thought that went towards making life as easy as possible for a start-up nursery. Especially one with such an important mission! Interview With Rosybee As you can see, the top plants for the honeybee are …

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Feb05

Balmoral Cottage, Kent NGS 2019

Darren Topiary

Balmoral Cottage is open! The Yellow Book is back for 2019! My mentor Charlotte Molesworth is opening her garden on several days through April, May and September. And you should definitely go see it! It is amazing! Visit Balmoral Cottage here. The garden is full of topiary and plant treasures. You can see some of the photos here from an article in the Guardian. If you see me there (and you likely will, as I’ll be clipping!) come and say hi! Darren

Jan28

Microbz – Essential Health For You & Your Garden

Microbz is a brand we have been using in the garden for a couple of years now. It is a product made by a company who send a bottle of beneficial microbes, that you mix with water and this addition of ‘life’ helps your soil to improve. (Note – at Microbz there is currently a sale on here. Worth a first try at this price, so you can see the difference for yourself!) Have You Heard About Beneficial Microbes? You may have heard of the health benefits of beneficial microbes for your guts (what a word that is) but these microbes are …

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