Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Lawn

The Lawn

Michael Pollan, in his 1992 book Second Nature, says that a lawn is “nature under totalitarian rule”.  This sentence has stuck with me, because I think that it is a fairly accurate representation of the relationship that many people have with their lawn.  If you think about it for a minute, I’m sure that you can think of the image of someone yearning for that perfectly manicured expanse of Kentucky Blue.  On our street there is a yard with the most perfect lawn I have ever seen.  Every summer we marvel at its consistency in colour, length and density.  This spring though, it emerged from the snow, ravaged by voles.  Even though it’s not my lawn, but just one that I see on an evening walk, it broke my heart. Fortunately, there are solutions for a damaged lawn, and I know it will return again to its former glory!

For me, one of the most exciting days of spring is the day that there is NO snow left in the yard.  However, as the snow melts, many surprises can appear.  After the snow is gone and we’ve cleaned up any debris that accumulated, it’s time to address any brown spots.  Whether the spots are from dog urine, vole damage, or an overzealous shovel-er, the general solution is the same.  First, in the case of dog spots, you may want to apply an alkaline treatment to the area, to neutralize the pH of the acid in the urine.  After that though, it’s just a matter of spreading some top soil and grass seed, then watering and waiting for those little green shoots to appear.

Spring is also a great time to do general maintenance on the lawn, even if there’s not any great degree of damage.  Every lawn could use an over-seed now and then, which simply means spreading some topsoil and grass seed on top of the existing grass. Overseeding will help to thicken up the lawn, and keep it fresh and healthy.  Finally don’t forget to feed your lawn! A little bit of fertilizer, and some water goes a long way!

A lawn may be “nature under totalitarian rule”, but since you have the opportunity to care for it and nourish it, you can at least be a benevolent dictator!

Planting Time (kind of)!

Well, as we had planned, we started doing some planting at home yesterday.  Just to be on the safe side, nothing is in the ground yet, but we do have some planters set out.  Two (a hanging basket, and some jasmine) have been out for about a week and a half, except for a few cold nights.  Hopefully we don’t need to bring any in again!

The trouble with working amongst all the plants is that you see SO MANY that you want to incorporate into your own yard. I’ve been seeing these ponytail ferns for a while now, and wanting to incorporate them somewhere.  Add to that a late-developing love for foliage, and this is what we came up with.  I think the front door planters are my favourite ones ever.  The entrance is in DEEP shade, due to an overhang from the roof.  I’m that these plants will never even feel the sun on their leaves.  We’ll see how these guys do through the summer, before declaring them a complete success, but here’s what they look like now!

In this planter: Ponytail Fern, Boston Fern, Lamium, & 3 Wax Begonias

May Long Weekend

May Long Weekend…

It can mean so many things depending on who you are.  For cottage-owners, it’s often the first weekend out, to open up everything, and see what’s happened over the winter.  If you’re of a certain age, there will probably be a wedding social or two to attend.  For gardeners however, the May Long Weekend signals the time to start gardening.

At Lacoste, we’re often asked if May Long Weekend is a safe, time to plant.  The answer to that is largely a matter of confidence! If you’re confident that the weather is warm enough; if you’re confident in your abundance of sheets and blankets to cover things up if it’s not, then, yes! It’s safe to plant!  If you prefer another more date-specific answer, there are those who advocate not planting until after the first full moon in June. If you are planning to put out your containers, bedding plants and vegetables this weekend, you are not alone; keen gardeners have plants in the ground, and containers around the yard already.

I’ll be in the greenhouse all weekend, so I won’t be planting anything in my garden just yet. However, we’ll do it on Tuesday, with confidence that spring has sprung!

How about you? Are you planting? Waiting? Or after such a late start to spring, do you need the weekend to do the first good garden-cleanup?