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….)

Apr11

Testimonials From Garden Talks This Week

I have visited two new clubs this week to present a garden talk. They were in different parts of the country and so a lot of driving, but worth every hour sat on the motorway in traffic! The talks went well and I have had some lovely feedback… “Thank you so much for providing a presentation which was an almost impossible mix of enthusiasm, joy, entertainment, education and inspiration. They say that laughter is the best medicine and there was certainly plenty of that, and everyone left with a smile on their face, but just as important is that it …

READ MORE

Mar28

Secateurs Marie Kondo Would Approve Of….

secateurs

Secateurs & Marie Kondo I was interviewed recently for an article in the Telegraph about the best secateurs for the garden. I let my mouth run away with me (as normal) and said that the Okatsune pruners with the red and white handles, that I use everyday in the garden, are the kind you don’t throw away when you Marie Kondo your possessions. I mean that, because I do believe in buy once buy well. But when it gets reported in the paper, I don’t half sound like a wally…! “Lerigo devoutly describes his chosen make of Japanese secateurs, Okatsune, …

READ MORE

Mar27

The Best Secateurs For Your Garden – The Daily Telegraph

Modern Mint and myself have been helping the Daily Telegraph discover the best secateurs on the market. And lo and behold, our Okatsune secateurs came out top! At last, recognition for a great value pair of secateurs that I use everyday! You can see what they thought of the other items on the post here – Daily Telegraph Best Secateurs. Or buy yourself a pair from Modern Mint.