Lawns, Turf & Grass

I’ve got troubles and I have to admit I feel a little silly that it has taken me so long to sort them out.

I’ll start at the beginning.  Two springs ago my front lawn didn’t come back after the winter.  And not only was it completely dead, it felt funny to walk over (weirdly squishy and slippy at the same time).

What The Heck!   I dug, and really didn’t see anything until I dug at the edges of the deadness.  Grubs!

I was in a bit of denial though because to be honest, I’ve seen greater infestations with less damage so I surmised that something else must be going on.  Wrong.  I had grubs and moles…bad.

Now the whole thing has moved to the lawn area on the other side of the driveway but this time it is more obvious what is going on.  Not only do I have a sweeping army of grubs, but they are attracting a herd of moles that are enjoying the grub feast.

My first thought was that my problem might be solved naturally….moles eat grubs, grubs go away then moles go away??  I’ve observed for yet another season and it doesn’t seem to be working out that way.  And in the mean time, I’ve got a lawn that looks like this.

mole in grass www.studiogblog.com

I twisted my ankle in a mole hole last week and now my patience for nature to take over is over and so is my penchance for scientific observation.

I bought  milky spore powder and for extra measure I put down a few Solar Powered Mole and Gopher Sonic Spikes.

Milky spore powder is a bacteria that only effects Japanese Beetles (for which grubs are the larvae).  It is organic, and does not harm beneficial insects or leave anything to harm you, your kids, pets or the environment   I love that kind of garden solution.

I am planning to treat once now and then again in the fall since that is when grubs eat the most.  Once the spore is in their system it will infect generations of grubs to come.  So by next spring I should see a huge improvement not just in my grass with less grubs, but also to have less japanese beetles eating my trees and less moles digging everything up.   If you have more questions about Milky spore powder — this is a great page.

mole and grub solutionWhile I wait to have this ecological cycle broken,  I am thinking that the Solar Powered Mole and Gopher spike is doing something good in the short term. I haven’t seen a new mole trail since I put it in.  I am hoping that it will also bug the daylights out of whatever is eating the roots of my hostas (is it possible I also have vole problem?!?) and maybe, just maybe, it will be the last straw for the woodchuck family that lives under the chicken coop?   I hope, but I am not holding my breath.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lowes.  This is a series that I am doing through the end of the year.   I am not an employee of Lowes and all opinions are my own.  See the other posts in this series

Are your phlox blooming yet?  In new England we are not quite there yet….but in Japan, well that is a different story.

Hokkaido Japan Higashimokoto Flower Park via www.studiogblog.com

This is Higashimokoto Flower Park in Hokkaido, Japan and this is what it looks like from mid May-mid June.  I came across it today as I was looking for more information about moss phlox.  It is quite a spectacle and it reminds me of  countless earthen reservoir dams….wouldn’t this be a fantastic way to replant after the earthworks?

Hokkaido Japan Higashimokoto Flower Park via www.studiogblog.com

The park was started and mostly built by one man, Chubachi Mr. Sueyoshi.  He began in 1947 after the war with just one plant which he built upon, spread and managed.  My Sueyoshi died in 2009 but the park is still open to visitors and creeping phlox currently cover over 10 hectares.  You can read more about it here.

images Kimi Tour Guide and Tumblr via oddity central.

 


Grass patterns with weed barrier fabric designed by Peg OLA via www.studiogblog.com
Karen M’Closkey and Keith Vandersys of Peg OLA have been making interesting projects with the use of parametric software and laser cut weed fabric.   Patterns are precut to customized designs which are then laid out on site and seeded.   The inexpensive and relatively easy installation and maintenance are helping them to create interesting landscape features.  

Grass patterns with weed barrier fabric designed by Peg OLA via www.studiogblog.com

Grass patterns with weed barrier fabric designed by Peg OLA via www.studiogblog.com

 

I was thinking that something similar could be done on even more simply by unrolling the weed barrier fabric and experimenting with folding and cutting (much the way you might with paper dolls or paper snow flakes)  to create interesting designs that you can lay out on the ground.

Grass patterns with weed barrier fabric designed by Peg OLA via www.studiogblog.com

images suckerpunch daily

Korean grass

I am eager to fix my front lawn this season.  My plan is to get a new lawn established before the weeds even think about growing, and with that in mind I seeded yesterday.  It happens that even though much of my grass is still buried in a lot of snow — the area that needs to be fixed up isn’t.
KOREAN GRASS HVGARDENS02_BIG
I’m hoping to take advantage of the sopping wetness and the relative lack of birds (they haven’t all come back yet) and I am defying mother nature to dump another couple of feet of snow on us (I know, I am askign for it!)

My new grass will be the standard fare….but I am wishing that I could grow Zoysia Tenuifolia.  This grass is know by a few common names -

  • Korean Velvet Grass
  • No Mow Grass
  • Mascarene Grass
  • Temple Grass

Most of the time it is used in Asian gardens and it is really nice planted between rocks.  The down side is that it doesn’t love the really cold temps, it is very slow growing and it is slow to green back up in the spring.   But if you live in a dry place where the grass doesn’t really brown, and you are up for something a little different, then this is a prime choice for you.  It is drought tolerant and my favorite part is naturally occurring lumpy humps that kind of grow over things.

KoreanGrassRockBig

Can you imagine rolling around on this grass….it would give you a back massage!

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 7.12.35 AMNot having grown this, I am curious to know more from the front lines of gardners who are cultivating it.  If you grow Zoysia Tenuifolia, tell us — it is as cool as it looks?

images from Tranquil Havens 

 

hoar frost on a winter garden

Have you ever heard that bit about their being lots of Eskimo words for snow? True or not, it is a fact that we more commonly use words for things we experience commonly.  So I offer that as an explanation for why I (at least) haven’t really ever heard of hoar-frost.  Frost has always just been frost for me.  But I recently came across the term and on further investigation, I learned that not only is there a special kind of frost called hoar-frost, but there are other types too (advection frost, white frost, rime and window frost).

hoar frost on a winter garden

We don’t get hoar-frost too often in New England.  When I lived in England I noticed it relatively often.  I also remember it to be a little more common back home in Colorado.  Hoar frost and if it is something that you get with any regularity,  is something well worth considering when planning your garden. Read the full post

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I’m filing this under – Things I Wish I Had Done Last Fall.   I love me a good flowery mead and given that I have a dead front lawn, (soon to be revived this spring)- this would have been all the easier.

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I never thought about how much more effective it would  be to roll back the lawn to achieve this effect.  No, I rather daftly dug little individual holes with a bulb planter.  Duh….So much simpler this way. 
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Now I am all inspired for this coming fall….or perhaps even this spring before the new lawn even takes hold!

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I’m curious — are you the type of person who loves this look (the sort of weedy lawn) or would you view this as a complete denuding of grassy perfection?   I’m really curious — because there truly is two sides to this in garden world…and none is more right…but I find that when I meet a new client, this is a huge indicator of what kind of landscape they will ultimately want and be happy with.

tumblr_mgpj8lP7yT1r5dkjoo6_1280Completely controlled nature (or as much as possible), or a willingness to encourage things going off on their own (or look like they did)?  What kind of gardener are you?

images from Trädgård med utsikt found via LF.

 

I’m really having a tough time getting back to my normal rhythm after vacation.  Does that happen to you?

It doesn’t help that in addition I have been working feverishly on the next issue of Leaf (did you read the summer issue?)  that will come out in September and (..and this is just as big…) my little people are away with their aunt for the week.   I have never experienced the opportunity (since becoming a parent nearly 10 years ago) of having my house all to myself.  I am revelling in the opportunity to clean with out taking backwards steps (it actually stays clean!), rid the place of things that they will never miss, and generally get organized on a way that just seems impossible with them around.  It’s a ‘make hay while the sun shines’ sort of situation that will all be different next week.

lawn paper by steve messam

Regardless, of my chaos, I do have a couple things to share with you today.   The first is something that we shared on the Leaf Facebook page this morning.   It’s an Arts and Crafts inspired etching (called lawnpaper) created by Steve Messam.  It aims to highlight the role William Morris played in the birth of the environmental movement.

I’m trying to figure out the process, but according to Steve’s website it is, amazingly, done in an environmentally sound way that involves working with the natural growth colors of grass and a push mower.   See more.  - Rochelle

lawn paper steve messam cut grass design