Wimbledon is upon us and some focus has been given to the preparation of the grass courts; is it the lawn tennis court that inspires gardeners, big and small, to aim for that even, green, striped garden lawn?
I’m curious because I recently ruptured the ligament of the biceps in my right arm; to my friends’ great amusement I did it trying to start my petrol lawnmower and then aggravated it by removing the cork from a bottle of red! So unable to use my arm at all for a few days and with the lawnmower locked in the garage for the foreseeable future, my lawn has been subjected to the two-week cutting regime. I don’t feed or weed kill the garden lawn and so this regime has allowed the wild flowers to grow and flower.
I have been amazed at how beautiful it looks and how much it frames the rest of the garden, providing a continuum of colour right across the garden space and not delineating flower beds from lawn; the dominant colours are the wonderful yellow and red of the birdsfoot trefoil, white and pink of the clovers and the deep purple of self-heal.
It is a wonderful magic carpet which is alive with insect life. All of the plants mentioned above are bee-friendly and on closer examination there are several species of bee visiting my garden. It has aroused some interest from a friend of mine who is a Professor of Apiculture and so I find that I have a research project in my back garden. Who knew that injuring your arm could lead to such an interesting outcome?
However, it is a serious lesson in lawn management for me – forget the unnecessary expense and effort of lawn treatments and the enslavement of the once a week lawn cut. Forget the idea of having just a small “nature corner” but let nature take over your lawn and create your own meadow naturally. From my experience, I don’t recommend the rupture of a ligament as a means to this end – just do it!