THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Over the weekend we saw an advert for Artificial Lawn that claimed it was the ‘only alternative to mowing!’
Let us be serious – that is no more than marketing hype, and a lie.
The first alternative to mowing that springs to our mind is… don’t mow. Really, keep it that simple, and don’t mow. Let the grass grow longer, flower and set seed… and see how the garden looks.
You might be surprised by what grows when a lawnmower is not cutting the heads off a plant every week through the growing season – orchids have even been known to make an appearance – and all that spare time you now have because you are not mowing for hours on end every weekend will mean you can study what these plants, now allowed to perform, actually are.
What happens though, when it gets to the end of summer, and you want to tidy up? It’s not a difficult question to answer, though we find it often falls on deaf ears because the answer is not what people want to hear. We suggest hiring a scythe mower for the day, to get all the work done at once. This solution is shrugged off as too much hard work (the people doing the shrugging conveniently forgetting the work saved over the previous 6 months.)
What about hiring someone with a strimmer? No.
Facetiously, we then suggest bringing in sheep. This answer also gets shrugged off (and it probably deserves it too – although we’d love to see a sheperd bringing his flock into the back garden for a few days – the neighbours perhaps wouldn’t.)
You could always dig up and start your lawn again, this time sowing a grass seed that either grows slowly or doesn’t get very tall.
Or better still, make the lawn area into a pond – there will be a huge increase in wildlife in your garden and it will also give you the same calming view to look out on as a lawn provides.
It takes a brave person to give up their lawn. But doing so really will give you more time to do something more interesting than mow. And if you hear someone say there is no alternative to a lawn, or that artificial lawn is the only alternative to grass – send them to us – we don’t mind telling them straight.
(Yep, someone really wrote this book…)
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
I am an experienced teacher of topiary and pruning, running workshops in the topiary garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent, as well as for The English Gardening School and The European Boxwood And Topiary Society. So if you are a keen gardener, a garden club, a group of friends who want to know more or even an absolute beginner who has been bitten by the gardening bug, then do contact me about what you might like to learn. What a laugh we are having in this workshop session I ran for a group of friends in Essex… Many people employ …