There is but the least little bitty bit of lawn here, and even that is heavier with clover and other non-grass plants than the mix of tall fescue and Kentucky blue grass seed that was broadcast over composted manure that was spread over a former gravel driveway. It is referred to as the lawn/meadow, since the transition from the former to the latter was first begun.
The decision to go this route, with minimal mowing was made in August of 2009, explained in
this post. It is coming along nicely, getting better each year as additions are made to help pretty it up. The four sections are now two, with the side center diagonal pathways allowed to grow up and onward with bulbs and flowers added in.
Even this itty bitty bit is only cut with the electric mower once a year, in late fall/early winter, except for the paths through the middle and around the circumference that are kept short. The philosophy about lawns here in the Fairegarden on the steeply sloping property is, who needs them? Read a post written in 2010 about the no lawn plantings here to find out more details.
The pathways of the lawn are kept cut low and the long lawn grasses are enhanced with more and more bulbs each season. Tulips, like Tulipa batalinii ‘Apricot Jewel’ shown in the first image, daffodils and puschkinia in the spring lead off the color splash amidst the greens, followed by lilies and alliums. (Need more.) The mainstay of summer into fall is Verbena bonariensis which has proven up to the task of growing through the dense roots of the grasses. The weedy fleabane was recognized as a good candidate to add white, click here to read about it. The chosen lily, seen above, is Lilium ‘Royal Sunset’, a longifolium-asiatic hybrid that blooms in June, needs no staking and is sweetly fragrant. After bloom, the lilies are deadheaded and the upright foliage adds texture and interest.
Early this spring, crimson clover seed was scattered thickly in the unmown sections and is growing nicely. One plant, seen above in a shot from 2011, was dug from a roadside in South Carolina and planted in the lawn here to see how it would fare. Obviously, one plant was inadequate but the brilliant hue was perfect. If we get swaths of dark red blossoms dotting the lawn this year, rest assured there will be a photo of it posted.
In the late fall/early winter the longer parts of the meadow are cut to four inches, with the pathways cut shorter to keep the design intact. New sculptures were made last year to offer interest, read about that here.
This year, 2012 holds great promise as the constant tweaking is beginning to show results. There are now many more lilies, more alliums, the tulips and daffodils will be spread more, wildflowers that are strong enough to live in this densely planted environment, like mountain mint have been added to up the flavor quotient. Fronted on the street side by the Fairelurie, seen above with Camassias now in flower and the long row of pink muhly grass which blooms in the fall, the lawn/meadow is becoming an important player in the overall garden scheme. Watching its evolution is fun and rewarding. New ideas are incorporated as they enter my consciousness. It is a challenge, but that is a good thing. Keeping the paths cut low makes the whole thing look neat enough to even please my lawn loving husband, The Financier.