Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It sounds like on would be putting too much seed to start a lawn, but the practice of "overseeding" is to scatter new grass seed on an old lawn. I forgot to do it last fall. But this fall, I am spreading 50 pounds of "Bonzai Dwarf Fescue" on the entire lawn. Actually, it is a tall fescue variety that is supposed to be slower growing. Given how much work it is to mow the lawn, slower is better!

In the past, I have put out a mixture of varieties, feeling that a monoculture is never a good idea. In fact, I don't even like a purely grass based lawn, preferring to have a mixture of grass, clover, and an occasional lawn flower. But this year I decided to try to bring the lawn closer to a monoculture in just one respect... that there should be some similarity in the various areas of the lawn. Frankly, the lawn looks patchy, have fine grass in one place and course grass in another. I want a bit more fine grass, and less course grass. Hopefully, the fescue seed will manage that.

Of course, I still want the occasional lawn flower. Dandelion is fine as an "occasional" lawn flower... but it tends to take over if the lawn is not lush. My favorite lawn flower is the english daisy. Three years ago, when we first bought the house, I scatter some bellis seeds. Today, those seeds have developed into a nice sprinkling of largish daisy flowers. The lawn came with a copious supply of violets, which I encourage.

I've been debating in my mind whether to plant snow crocus bulbs in the lawn. The idea is that since they bloom very early here in warm California, that they can bloom and fade before I need to start the spring mowing... but if the foliage doesn't lie low enough, it too will be mown down, hurting next year's bloom. I could always replant more bulbs each fall, but I'm loath to do that, being both lazy and penny-pinching. Perhaps I should just try a couple hundred and wait a couple years to see how they do?

Speaking of mowing. I deliberately mow the lawn the same direction each time, against modern advice, to deliberately induce that striped look that characterized the Edwardian, machine mown lawn, in contrast to the Victorian lawn that was mown by sheep! I liken the look to the green and white striped awnings also popular with the Edwardians.

Monday, July 27, 2009



During this past winter, the garden beds in front of the house were nearly bare, save for the lycoris leaves. I used the time to plant bulbs and seeds that would be in bloom this spring and summer. That work paid off handsomely.

This spring the roses are stronger and the lilies are taller. As my gardening efforts so far are merely experiments in which seeds and bulbs will thrive, my future gardening will be much more ambitious.