There’s More To It. FILE PHOTO

For the love of lawns

I suppose with lawns, as with life, we can settle for thin and weedy, or we can try a little harder.

Shawn Acheson

There’s More To It

We have European aristocracy to blame for our love of lush and green lawns. In those days, castle defence relied on visibility, so large open fields on all sides were the norm. At first it was field grasses that would naturally grow there, and livestock was the means to keep it trim and neat. Later, the bar was raised when it was determined that a lawn without livestock droppings was far more impressive. This began the day of labouring over lush carpets of grass as a benchmark of status. I imagine all the neighbouring castles competing for the biggest and best display of greenery, and the turning up noses when any might have overgrowth or thin patchy lawns.

That standard has continued today, and one look at the plush thick lawns of my neighbourhood has been a curse to my self worth. I lay awake at night imagining a torch and pitch fork assembly gathering to drive me out of my neighbourhood. My little dog and four children don’t help my plight; I suspect they all share in the responsibility of the brown spots and inconsistent growth patterns. But this week, while they are all on a holiday, I bought and applied some turf builder to improve my status among my peers.

This may sound like a simple thing, but I laboured for hours at the garden center, reading the details on each product, trying to determine the cost to benefit ratios, and how much labour would be required, etc.

Of course, the most important thing for people like me, desperate to regain my neighbourhood status, is ‘how fast will this grow?’ With thin areas, bald patches, weeds that need to be choked out, and those brown spots to be restored, I don’t have time to wait. Embarrassingly, while looking for a shortcut, I actually considered buying sod to lay over top of my existing grass, but it turns out that requires loads of prep work too.

I can’t believe there isn’t a product out there that will magically and instantly restore my lawn. Like all things in life, it seems the nagging truth is indeed true “you only get out of it what you put into it.”

All these products call for some prep work, a short mow and a good raking to get all the dead stuff out of the way, thorough application of the seed mixture, then, consistent and routine watering for the next week or so. If I do all of this, and don’t try to shortcut any of it, they will 100 per cent guarantee my success. I could have walked out of the garden center at this point and found some very reasonable and rational excuses to leave my lawn as it is, but in the end it would really be my own lazy, unwillingness to put in that little extra attention, effort and cost.

I suppose with lawns, as with life, we can settle for thin, weedy and spotted, or we can try a little harder and a get brighter, greener and more lush experience. The question is, am I the kind of guy that will do a little more, with my lawn and my life?

I am that kind of guy, and I am going to mow, rake, seed, water and repeat; with my lawn, my relationships, my responsibilities and my opportunities in life, without shortcuts. Not because my neighbours will be pleased, but so my kids can have a better experience, so I can enjoy the benefit, and that my castle will be well protected.

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