It’s not easy for me to admit this, but I’m only realising now that I once made a terrible, terrible gardening mistake. Let me take you back a few years to when I was young(er), full of enthusiasm, didn’t have a bad back and dodgy wrist and most of all, was very naive. The garden was new, very rough but slowly taking shape. I was filling my mind with horticultural knowledge by watching TV, poring through books and browsing online. The common theme across all these was having the perfect, immaculate garden lawn.
The perfect garden lawn demands the ultimate care and attention and should be lavished with feed, seed, watered and have expensive gadgets to maintain it – this was the take-home message from all these places that wanted to sell you things and like the naive person I was, I was sucked in.
The patch of scratty grass I had in the back came woefully short of the pictures on the TV and internet. I had a grass rake and a mower, but obviously that wasn’t enough, I then got a scarifier, then I bought lawn sand, lawn seed, lawn feed and weed. There was “autumn care” and “summer care” programs and seed for shade, damp, sun and so on… I would spend ages aerating the lawn, sprinkling the compost over it, trying to recover bare patches, eliminate weeds and generally strive to achieve picture perfect results to join the ranks of the “immaculate lawn club”.
The result was a generally improved lawn, but it was a great deal of expense and effort to make it look that way and to top it all off, I would have to do it every year. I’d created a prima donna. That wasn’t the worst of it though, it was recently that I begun to realise that all the chemicals and fertiliser in the products that I put down to keep the grass green and the weeds dead had effectively sterilised the grass. While the borders were full of plants, flowers, insects and buzzing things, the grass was green but ultimately lifeless.
What really brought it home was when my other half expressed a liking of daisies. That took me back to Junior school and sitting under a monumental plane tree making daisy chains on the grass. I couldn’t do that in my back garden now, the chemicals had killed all the daisies. When I realised what I had done, it made me very sad. It was a terrible, terrible mistake.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Today I have the skill, experience, knowledge and money to turn the clock back and restore the “lawn” to how it should be: generally green but covered with grass flowers like buttercups, daisies and clover and brimming with life. I can readily buy the plants as seeds and re-introduce what was lost. Once the flowers are back, the other life will return and the chain will rebuild itself after the chemical devastation I inflicted on it a few years back.