The Lawn Experiment-Open To Suggestions

October 9, 2009 012 (2)
Behind the Muhlenbergia capillaris that lines the driveway,…

August 26, 2009 031 (2)
Behind the ever expanding bed that holds the muhly grass, behind the new plantings that were inspired by the Lurie in Chicago, the Fairelurie, (click here to read about it) …

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…there is the lawn. The only lawn grass on the entire property, a concession to the Financier who wanted a patch of green grass for the family to play on and a token to the neighborhood of trying to blend in to the other houses on the block. It is not a good play area though, for it is not level enough nor wide enough for even a small game of frisbee catching, let alone football, baseball or soccer. Don’t even think about basketball. This warts and all shot from 2003, very warty!, shows the messy pampas grass still living in the middle driveway island bed down by the street, the row of tiny Arborvitae, a collection of potted plants waiting to go to Semi’s brand new home, the gas guzzler, the walking path lined with egg rock with an old stump placed in the middle, (what was I thinking!), the just paved driveway looking blindingly bright and the newly seeded lawn. The staked tree like thing is a butterfly bush standard, now replaced with the witch hazel, Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’.

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Oldest offspring MA, son of offspring Chickenpoet was helping us out with the reel lawnmower at age five. He is now eleven and would have no problem pushing that heavy mower. The line of muhly is not even a figment of our imagination yet. The things sticking up at the driveway edge are the seed heads of liriope, which rims the entire lawn space so there is no edging needed. I hate to edge. There are those who want to do away with lawn and those who have successfully done so. We enjoy having a little green, thinking of it as just another plant growing here. Deborah, (Kilbourne Grove) of Green Theatre has written about her lawn thoughts here.

August 18, 2009 024 (2)
Fast forward to present day, August eighteenth of this year to be exact. Inspiration from various magazine, book and blog articles led us to try cutting paths through the lawn in a design. It is supposed to suggest a fan shape, except the far right portion is upside down due to the shape of the space. I wanted the paths between the sections to be two mowing strips wide for ease of maintenance. The paths were cut shorter than normal to show the contrast between the cut and the uncut. We had to abandon the reel mower in favor of the easier to push corded electric model some years ago.

October 7, 2009 new 050 (2)
One thing that was noticed immediately was how fast the paths would grow to nearly the same height as the uncut fans. More frequent mowing at shorter heights helped to keep the design in place. It is hoped that as the fans grow taller there will be less frequent path mowing needed. The entire mowing process takes less than ten minutes, including cleaning the lawnmower and depositing the clippings into the compost bin.

September 30, 2009 025 (2)
Satisfied with the shape of the design and the ease of care, the next consideration was planting the fans with something that could be mowed down at the end of the growing season. Looking around for plants that might fit the bill, these were on hand. Salvia coccinea, Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica, Verbena bonariensis, Amaranthus paniculatus ‘Autumn Palette’, and not in the shot, Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Dallas Blues’ were tried to see how and what color might look good. These have grown well and stand tall enough to be seen above the tall fescue and Kentucky blue grass that makes up the lawn, along with various weeds. The Amaranthus is my favorite, three plants are all that were managed from a whole packet of seeds, not enough to fill these areas for a nice show. Too bad, I like them a lot. Dallas Blues is a new and very tiny plant, not large enough to see if it will grow well in amongst the lawn grasses.

October 22, 2009 new 016 (2)
These trial plants are nice enough, but not really the vision. The next fan over is planted with sprigs of little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium gathered around the yard that grows wild here. It died right after planting, but some have begun to show new life.

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Bulbs have been added to the fans, planted in groups at the point and in three clumps along the wide ends of each fan. A mixture of Tulipa batalinii ‘Apricot Jewel’, photo on left, and Puschkinia scilliodes var. libanotica alba, on the right, a total of two hundred of each might show up through the mowed grass next spring. Images are from the Van Engelen online catalog.

~~~

Any and all suggestions of plantings for these fans will be welcomed. The criteria are that they can be mowed after the growing season, probably in December, without harm. Or perhaps we should not mow it at all? We are zone 7a, with slightly acidic, well drained with clay based soil. That eliminates anything woody or with a tender crown, the mowing part. The leaves should not smother the grass, or the plant be so floppy as to fall over and smother the grass. This is not that easy an assignment, is it? Self seeding annuals might work, but they have to be able to grow in the lawn grass and be tall enough to show above it but not be too tall. One thought would be all grasses, the blood grass would work and goes dormant, but that thought is just not lighting my fire. The wild bluestem will probably be too coarse and not look like much during the spring and summer. Flowers, maybe. Interesting seed heads for fall and winter interest would be good. Should it be all the same thing? Something different in each fan? A chaotic mix? How tall will the lawn grass eventually grow? Will it flower and seed? All that is known for sure is that it needs something more than the lawn grass. Or does it? Any ideas?

Added: After so many wonderful ideas, thanks everyone!, keep ’em comin’!, I started looking online for some bulbs to order for the lawn and found most were already sold out! Panic set in, so we went ahead and ordered from Brent and Becky’s; 15 Allium ‘Mount Everest’, 100 Anemone blanda ‘Blue Shades’, 5 Camassia – leichtlinii ‘Semiplena’ (pricey), 10 Ornithogalum – nutans (just to try them), and 50 Fritillaria – meleagris. Don’t know how they will be planted yet, but didn’t want to completely miss the bulb boat. Added again: 512 Ixiolirion pallasii from Van Engelen (12 from the grocer’s).

Frances

List of possibles: (This will be added to from the comments received)

Helenium
Sanguisorba
Rudbeckia hirta
Belamcanda
Celosia
Cosmos sulphureum
Malva Zebrina
Bronze Fennel
Verbena bonarienses
Alliums
Amaranthus
Daffodils
Poppies
Nigella
Coreopsis
Bloodgrass
Little Bluestem
Fritillaria meleagris
Camassia
Mexican Hat
Crimson Clover
Achillea
Echinacea pallida
Prairie Smoke
Pulsatilla
Prairie Dropseed
Aromatic Aster

Thanks everyone! Late suggestions are more than welcome. This will be an ongoing project, ongoing forever maybe! How fun. πŸ™‚
Frances

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37 Responses to The Lawn Experiment-Open To Suggestions

  1. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, this is a project that I will watch with interest but I don’t have any plant suggestions. I am a great fan of Christopher LLoyds books, I enjoy his writing. Though I don’t have the time for his intensive gardening style, he always has something to inspire me. He has written a book on meadows, one I haven’t read, which though about the south east of England would have some inspiration for you. I am sure you will have seen pictures of his garden but what fascinates me is how close his meadow style lawns are close to the borders – just like yours.

    I hope you get lots of suggestions. Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post! I believe this is spam!

    Hi Sylvia, thanks for those tips. I will look for the meadow book. I have a couple of his books already, but not that one. Before Piet as my inspiration, there was Lloyd, with his riot of color and four seasons of interest. My poor husband and his incredible shrinking lawn. When asked what he thought of the mowing design, he said he would rather it was all one length. He didn’t realize the plan to add other plants in the fans. But thought it okay when I told him it would all be mowed one length, once a year. Marriage is about compromise. Also, if I decide it doesn’t look good, it can go back to regular lawn, with some bulbs in it. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  2. Les says:

    Three self seeders that I know can take an occasional mow are: Malva zebrina, Verbena bonariensis and Fennel (Bronze is my favorite). I love the idea of mowing in different patterns. Have fun with your experiment and have a great day!

    Thanks for those, Les. The good thing is that they are all already seeding about here anyway, no money going out of the plant fund! They are on the tall side, maybe. I don’t know how tall the lawn grasses will grow unmown though. I love the Verbena, it blooms nonstop for so many months and the pollinators love it. The fennel is perhaps too tall, it gets to five feet and taller here, but I love it! The malva has leaves that might be too large, but is a good choice otherwise. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. lynn says:

    Frances, I like seeing the overall look of your garden from this angle. The row of spruces look great! The fan design make me think of herb gardens..which are then quite formal. The bulbs you selected and planted will be quite beautiful πŸ˜‰ Maybe continue in the bulb theme and add taller tulips/alliums/lilies? Edging with annuals will give you continuous color and interest but not sure it would ease the plan of mowing. Cannas, dahlias..hardy enough in zone 7? I do like the idea of SOME grasses for interest but they grow so big! Definitely go with different mixes in the fans but complimentary color combos. The possibilities are endless! It’ll be fun to see what you come up with, Frances!

    Thanks Lynn. Herbs would be a good thing to plant, I hadn’t thought of that. Alliums are another thought too. Purple Sensation and Drumstick and planted amongst the muhly grass already. Maybe white large alliums in the fans? So many possibilities is right! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. gail says:

    Frances, I must think on this ~~R hirta can take on the grasses
    (I have seed for you)….but it might end up spreading beyond where you want it to grow. Are you wedded to plants in the grasses? I was wondering if different looking lawn grasses sodded in a pattern would work? Lawn grasses that don’t spread. I wish we could grow buffalo grass. It would look wonderful; albeit, a bit rough, but, it never really needs mowing. I know that you asked for plant ideas…but;-) I am still thinking about this! gail

    ps and we could have been having our morning cuppa together if the weather had only cooperated!

    Hi Gail, all thoughts are welcome. I am not married to anything in the garden, all subject to change. Well except maybe the deciduous azaleas. I would like to know how tall the lawn grass will get if unmown, that will help with the selections. It would be nice to change them around a bit too. And there is that consideration of money! Buffalo grass is a runner?, don’t want anything that runs. If you think of something, do come back and comment, even if it is years from now. πŸ™‚ I do wish you were here, it is supposed to not rain all day today.
    Frances

  5. Cheryl says:

    Awesome idea. I love amaranth too, I planted the tall deep red variety (sorry, can’t remember the botanical name…) and it was the star of my garden for months…I’m not sure how tall it gets in a colder climate, it’s nearly 5ft. tall here. I’m going to keep an eye on this project…how fun!

    Thanks Cheryl. The amaranth was a huge disappointment. I have tried it other years with the same results. My daughter Semi threw some seeds out one year and it was fabulous, very tall. She never got a repeat of that however. It would be the perfect look, but it doesn’t like my soil or something. Celosia might give a similar look and is readily available in six packs. I would prefer seeds though, so much cheaper. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. Janet says:

    Good morning Frances, what a unique idea. There are meadow blends available –seed mixes for various zones. I just wonder, given the size of the fan slices, too much of a mix would be too busy. Your eye needs to have a place to rest. Could you do a planting of all one flower for each growing period? For example…bulbs (daffodils for example) then as their foliage fades, annual poppies emerge, then…single color Nigella (Love in a Mist)…etc. That way you have variety but there isn’t too much busyness. At the end of the season, mow it all down.

    Hi Janet, thanks. These are great ideas. We have nigella by the millions here, a big plus in the financing of this project. I think seasonal changes would be good. Don’t know if it can be pulled off, but I like the idea! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  7. tina says:

    Pretty neat idea the mowing of the fan. I have no idea what you could plant in the fans. But I’m sure you’ll choose a good plant that will work perfect for you.

    Hi Tina, thanks. It seems there are lots of ideas swirling around out there. I might try several, or even all of them. As with all gardens, it is a process, not a finished and be done with it sort of deal. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I tried to interest my Dearly Beloved with a lawn design for our front lawn. He wouldn’t go with it. We don’t even have anyone who plays out front. We don’t even go out front very often. Mostly just to mow. Sigh… I hope your experiment goes well. I will show him what you are up to. Maybe that will convince him to at least do a pattern out front.

    Thanks Lisa. Tell DB, what’s the worst thing that can happen? You mow part but not all of the lawn. If you don’t like the look, or the pattern, it can always be mowed down like the paths. I did not figure out a pattern first, I just started mowing down the middle and around the edges and this is what happened. It could still be changed, although the bulbs would have to be moved. It will probably stay like this. Give him the freedom to think of a design, he seems like a creative type with those good photos he takes. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. rosey pollen says:

    I am not a designer for landscapes…so I just look at tons of books, until something jumps out at me. I think you are going to come up with something that will stand the test of time and look great, I can’t even make a suggestion, I don’t know what grows well in your zone. But I would go with a variety, in case of disease or other unknown factors. Not much help. But I did enjoy seeing these other views of your garden. It’s looking fabulous!
    Rosey

    Hi Rosey, thanks. Your method sounds just like mine, I have no formal training, just the school of hard knocks, or hard digging I guess it should be phrased. I do plan to try several things, diversity of plantings is a hallmark here. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. I know you already have some somewhere but some Mexican Feather grass might work in their for some different textures. There are many varieties of short zinnias and cosmos you could try. It might be too short but I bought coreopsis midget seeds (Coreopsis tinctoria) that get about 10 inches tall last year. I never put them in the garden but maybe next year.

    Thanks Dave. We do have loads of the feather grass, but the drawback is the mowing. I mistakenly cut some back to the ground this summer and it is struggling to grow back. I think it should not be cut like that. The zinnias and cosmos would look great, I love the colors on them too, thanks.
    Frances

  11. ourfriendben says:

    Wow, Frances, love your fans!!! But I think I’d vote to keep them comparatively low (maybe 18 inches) and uniform, too. I’d be for planting grasses—maybe bloodgrass and an ornamental blue in alternating fans—underplanting with bulbs as you’re doing (love the two you’ve chosen), and interspersing poppies as Janet suggests. (Can you grow California poppies there? They now come in such a wonderful range of colors. If not, I’d go for Shirley or another delicate red, rather than the heavy-bodied poppies.) Simple scheme, but the effect would be stunning and would look entirely intentional, in keeping with the fan shapes. Just a thought! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    Hi OFB, thanks. Research has shown that the blue grass in flower will be about three feet tall, same with the tall fescue. That gives us more options with height. The bloodgrass grows so well here, it would be free, another consideration. California poppies are iffy here, but the Shirleys would be good. I love their colors too. I agree, simple is best. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. Frances, first, thank you for the mention, it is much appreciated. I will have to give some more thought to your flowery meadow, but two bulbs spring to mind. When I lives in England, I used to walk through Kensington Gardens on my way to work. They had a fenced off area, where the grass was not cut. In the spring fritilaria melgris and camassia rose up through the grass. It was magical.

    Hi Deborah, my pleasure. I love the fritt idea, we have a couple of those already and have seen the photos of them planted in lawns in England too. So far the Camassias have been a bust, but the lawn is actually more moist than some of the flower beds so that might work. Excellent! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. Darla says:

    You are the most creative gardener I have ever had to priviledge of communicating with. I am curious to see how this ‘grass design’ plays out for you. When you speak of Amaranthus are you referring to Celosia? I have some Celosia seeds, it gets quite tall, has plumes from white to dark pink if you are interested. If not for that area, any area if you would like to try some. (Oh, you probably already have some) they are heavy reseeders.

    Oh Darla, you are so sweet, thanks so much. The amaranthus is similar in look to celosia, it should have been four feet tall but just barely grew at all. It might not like whatever is going on with our soil or climate. I love the look of Celosia, but have never had very good luck with it. I would love some seeds to try though and will be in touch. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  14. My first instinct is to suggest native wildflowers. And i don’t have a second instinct on this! HA!

    HA Monica, first instincts are usually the best! Thanks for the idea. I agree that natives would be good, the bluestem grows in every uncultivated patch around us, great fields of it and I love the rust color is turns in the fall.
    Frances

  15. gittan says:

    Hi Frances, this was very interesting I must say! I think it looks nice with only that lawn grass and I’m sure it’ll look great next spring with all those bulbs you’ve put here / kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. It does look nice with just the lawn grass. I think I began this project after these grasses would have flowered, so don’t know what they would look like. Next year we will see how they do. That sounds like a lot of bulbs, but it barely made a dent in the space. I was going to have 50 of each type scattered around each fan, but they would not have made much impact. It is bigger than the photos suggest. So I ended up putting them in groups of a dozen or so at the ends. That leaves room for something else in the middle too, like alliums or the little fritts.
    Kram,
    Frances

    • gittan says:

      Hi again, Alliums in the center area would be wonderful!!!

      Hi Gittan. I just checked my favorite bulb supply, Van Engelen and they are sold out of nearly everything, all the alliums I would be interested in. I will continue to look though, white ones would be stunning. πŸ™‚
      Frances

  16. Catherine says:

    I’ll be interested to see what you come up with. I’m sure it’s going to look great.

    Hi Catherine, thanks for your support! How bad can it look, anyway? It can always be mowed. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Darla says:

    anytime Frances…..if I have anything you would like to try in your gardens, it would be my pleasure to share. rusdar at hotmail dot com

    Wow, Darla, you are so fast! Thanks for the seeds. Would you like me to delete this with your email in it?

  18. Very interesting post. I would suggest that any tall forb that enjoys the prairie life style would be a natural for your fans. Lance leafed coreopsis and mexican hat come to mind immediately.

    As I was reading this, I reflected that you are lucky you live in a community that doesn’t have the sort of nosy busy-body control freaks writing ordinances that we do. A planting like you describe and picture would earn you a citation from our “Compliance Officer”, as in this town it is illegal to have grassy areas taller than 8″. If you do not mow an area that has garnered the attention of the CO, the city will send a crew to mow it for you and tack the bill onto your property taxes as a lien. I could go on into a rant about what a complete waste of money it is to fund a guy to go around and bitch out property owners for not mowing when our fair city is experiencing a shortfall of over $800,000 due to the fall in sales tax revenues (caused by the slow economy and massive layoffs in our area), but that would be self-indulgent.

    Hi Hands, thanks for those suggestions. I have a couple of the mexican hats, mailordered and expensive. Maybe they will seed and give me something to plant there. As for the rules, this is a post unto itself. I choose to live in a place where there are no rules. When we go to look at properties in fancy subdivisions, I always ask about the landscaping rules. The Financier knows I won’t live in a place like that. We did however once get a letter from the city that we had exceeded the weed height limit! It was when the girls lived here and had not mowed the front yard that was grass and weeds at the time for the whole summer. I still have the letter, HA. It was bad too. I am lucky we live on a seldom seen street and am friends with the neighbors. If I was in charge, it is the ones who pour those chemicals on their lawns that would get the citations. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. dirtynailz says:

    I love this idea, Frances. Here’s my humble suggestion: crimson clover. It’s pretty, does not grow tall, attracts pollinators and improves the soil. Johnny’s sells it.

    Thanks. I have some mail ordered crimson clover growing in the garden beds. It came from Seed Savers Exchange and has done nothing so far. I thought it was dead at one point. It would be the perfect plant. Maybe seeds would do better. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. commonweeder says:

    I am always so impressed – and terrified – by how much thinking! and knowledge! goes into planning something like this. I’ve only gotten as far as planting lots of clover and thyme in my ‘lawn’. Not fine turf as a neighbor once observed.

    Gosh Pat, you wouldn’t be scared of the thinking and planning going on here! HA None! It was just an impulse decision when preparing to mow. As for the planting, I plan to try lots of things. If I don’t like it, it can be mowed. Cheap is key, and easy. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  21. To the great suggestions thus far, I might add some of the better-behaved forms of achillea. It’s long-lasting and late flowering, and that nice flat form is a good contrast to some of the spiker flowers. Also applaud your suggestion of drumstick alliums, which do self-seed. Plus perhaps Echinacea pallida, which has long, slim petals which make it look airier than some of the more robust modern cultivars.

    In this semi-formal informal space (if you know what I mean), I’d also tend to go for fairly restrained colour choices… such as pinks and purples, with a touch of white or yellow… rather than painting with a full palette.

    Thanks, Helen. Achillea is a great suggestion. I like the yellow ones too. Glad to hear about the drumsticks, we have those in the muhly already that could be borrowed. We also tried the E. pallida last year from seeds, got three plants. We will see how those do here and add them to the mix! I’ll think about color after seeing what will even grow there. That is always my first concern, color be darned! πŸ™‚
    Frances

    • Hi, Frances, While you are one of my favourite bloggers, beyond a doubt, this little comment didn’t come from me. I wonder how that happened! Must make sure someone isn’t putting less complimentary words in my mouth…

      Thanks Helen, I didn’t think it was you. The email address was different, but they used your name. I contacted wordpress and they said it was just a spammer being clever. It fooled me in the beginning but didn’t seem right. I am on the lookout for that type of thing now and will remove it from your comment. Thanks for letting me know it wasn’t you.
      Frances

  22. Anna says:

    You have had some great suggestions Frances. Look forward to hearing what you decide on. I am sure that the completed project will look great.

    Hi Anna, thanks. Like most of the garden, this may never be completed. There is always some tweaking to do, or even total makeovers. HA
    Frances

  23. Geum triflorum (Prairie Smoke), Pulsatilla, Prairie Dropseed (Sporabolus heterolepsis), or maybe the ubiquitous Hakonechloa.

    Hi MMD, thanks for those. I have pulsatilla seeds started right now. The geum is in the expanded muhly bed, still small but it would look fabulous. I hope it grows to give seeds or divisions in the future. The dropseed has proven elusive to find here, but the search is still on. We cannot grow the Hakeonechloa here. I think our summers are too hot. I have killed it three times, the requisite number to call it quits. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. TC says:

    What about the 2009 perennial of the year? Although I’m not sure you can mow Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ back to the ground in winter.

    Hi TC, thanks for stopping by. That 2009 perennial of the year is a bit of a thorn in my side, it will not grow in the south, or here anyway. It doesn’t like the hot summers. I have killed it many times and when it was so honored by the PPA, I told Ruth, a former president of that organization and the owner of my favorite local nursery, Mouse Creek what I thought about that choice. It, the plant of the year, should be a plant that will grow everywhere in the country, or in more areas at least. She agreed.
    Frances

  25. joey says:

    I popped over for a relaxing visit to catch up and am now perplexed, Frances! Fun enough to read other’s suggestions … so with the late ‘bewitching’ hour at hand, will return, anxious to see what you have decided πŸ™‚

    Hi Joey, thanks for stopping by, but I am sorry you are perplexed. It is fun to think of plants, so many good suggestions. I have ordered some bulbs, tall white alliums, anemone blanda and a few of some other types to try them out. I think these will be test areas for a couple of seasons to see what works. Too fun! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  26. Frances, you’re not too late to sow wildflower meadows in the fans. However, the preparation is more than just sowing seeds in the existing grass. You’d pretty much have to dig out the grass and add some amended soil to rake level. Then broadcast a mix of annual seeds in the space. Next spring, you’d have wildflowers that could be mowed down in autumn so that you could plant more seeds. I’ve researched this method, but haven’t done the wildflower mixes.

    Cameron

    Hi Cameron, thanks for that idea, but I am not going to dig out the existing grass. It has to be able to go back to lawn over the winter. I was wondering how to plant seeds in it and think a raking with the thatch rake would make enough bare soil to scatter seeds. The Financier used to do that every fall to reseed the lawn grass anyway. What fabulous rakings for the compost bin that produces too. I do like the wildflower idea, a mix of things that will bloom over the whole season.
    Frances

  27. Sweet Bay says:

    The Muhly beyond the lawn makes such a gorgeous backdrop. Has anyone suggested Aromatic Aster?

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. No, I think you are the first with this one. We do have that growing in a few places too, October Skies, a lovely blue. It would be lovely. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  28. Racquel says:

    I like Cameron’s wildflower suggestion. This is a fun project, can’t wait to see how it evolves. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Racquel. I like the wildflower idea too. It will be a trial and error for a while, too fun! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  29. VW says:

    That looks like a great project, Frances. I’m excited to see it evolve. I don’t have suggestions for plantings, but I can pass on that we had good succes from spreading and inch of manure on our front lawn last spring. We used the bagged stuff from Lowes that was smelly but very uniform – it broke easily into tiny pieces that we raked into the lawn. We didn’t use any other fertilizers, and the lawn stayed greener than it had the year before. Maybe it made the soil healthier by encouraging microbes – and of course worms? I might post more about this, as it seemed to be a good way to combine organic ideals with growing lawn.

    Thanks VW. I do think the topdress of manure would benefit seed starting efforts there. Really we need to add manure to all the beds. I loved your bags story and actually checked out what was available and at what price here today. You should post more about it. It is so doable for many of us. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  30. Rose says:

    Frances, Looks like you already have a wealth of suggestions; I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you decide on. My husband would sure like that “10 minutes of mowing” idea:)

    Thanks Rose. I have ordered more bulbs today. VW’s manure idea would be a good base for seed starting next spring too. So many good ideas. Ten minutes of mowing lets us even look forward to it too. The paths look so nice afterwards too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  31. Patsi says:

    You crack me up….you’ll never blend in to the other houses on the block.
    We like you that way.

    Ha Patsi, are you in touch with my neighbors by any chance? The good thing is that my neighborhood is not very homogenous anyway. Sort of a dead end street with only a very few houses, several empty lots near the center of town but hidden from view. All good. You are sweet, my friend, BTW, the house behind me is for sale. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  32. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, I was looking at some pictures I took in Scotland September this year and one was of blue Agapanthus growing in grass. Not something I would have thought of but it was doing very well, it would need to be a deciduous one – which are hardier anyway. They come in different heights so could be matched to your grass. I don’t see Agapanthus very often in US blogs but they are popular over here.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Hi Sylvia, thanks for that. I love Agapanthus, we had them in our Texas garden, but they are not hardy where I live, I don’t believe. I did manage to get something similar, a bulb called Ixiolirion pallasii with blue flowers, at Van Engelen, 500 of them. It should give, I hope, a look like what you saw in Scotland.
    Frances

  33. Carol says:

    Good Morning Frances,

    Not sure how I missed this post… but just now I am too tired from being up all night… to give any suggestions… you seem to have it all covered now anyway. But…. I must say that your muhly grasses are so magical… make me think of some performance where fog is created and flows out onto the stage and into the audience. Enchanting really. My you have a boundless energy … but then again you have a long fall and most likely sleep as a person should … you will accomplish all you set out to do … I would bet. Fun to think of what it will look like beginning next year. Enjoy the weekend. Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks for visiting. The beauty of the blog posts is that they will always be there for the readers, maybe even after the author is gone. The muhly is looking good still, but there is a small hint of the straw color that will take over showing, then it sort of collapses and will be cut down. My energy level goes up and down, it seems to be tied to sunshine levels! I do get the required hours of sleep, going to bed quite early and then rising very early too. Try to get rested up, my friend. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  34. Zach says:

    WOW, that is so cool…. I would definitely do that. I don’t think my mom would like it. But can you walk through it if you don’t have a path. I’ve seen some people who don’t paths

    Thanks Zach, glad you like it. I use the paths to walk to the woodland bed behind the lawn, and the fan shapes are small enough that I can reach into them for planting bulbs too without stepping on the taller grass. I would suggest trying a mowing pattern. If you don’t like it, just mow the whole thing. What’s the worst that can happen ? πŸ™‚
    Frances

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