Gardening · In English

Bye bye turf

That’s it, I’ve lost it. Just like the rest of the country, but on a grander scale. Jugez-en par vous-mêmes : two days ago, I had this sudden urge to move my beloved and innocent acer palmatum Katsura into the shady bed. A modest and reliable potentilla fructicosa inherited from the previous occupants, which in summer bears pale yellow flowers, fell victim to that urge. It is now sitting in a pot, severely shaven. As for the acer, it is expectedly sulking. I shall admit to have lifted it again after having found a bag of Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi in the shed. The same treatment (being moved and relifted) befell a poor rosa rugosa my father-on-law brought down from his Lancashire garden last autumn, which has sat unhappily in a pot until now (a few leafbuds are appearing, though, all is not lost).

And then, today… I just felt possessed. Went out into the garden with my daughter and a ball of garden twine. Next thing you know, I was on my knees battling turf with a trowel. Unsurprisingly, after one minute, my wrist was hurting. Thankfully, my neighbour was also busy in the garden and charitably lent me a half-moon lawn edger, which meant I could hope to have finished before my son’s majority. Both kids helped, my daughter with tremendous energy. The husband did too, all too happy to be able to use his archaeologist’s techniques and call back to life some muscles aching from too much sitting in front of a computer marking students’ essays. At the end of day one, this is what we are left with :

Photo 16-04-2019 19 02 33

Now the turf, for the moment, has just been relaid upside down. I gather that it won’t break down like that, without cardboard and other compost making devices – it would have been too easy. I will therefore remove it and pile it with cardboard somewhere (hum, where ?) and lay down compost and manure. I am crazy, but not enough to lift all the plants that are now preparing for flowering. That will have to wait for the Autumn (or will it ?). Meanwhile, I am going to sow whatever is in my seed box (cosmos, white native wild flower mix, orleya grandiflora, wild carrot) and buy Mexican fleabane seeds. And maybe more nasturtium. Germera qui voudra.

I have to say I am really impressed with the way the children joined in. My son doesn’t usually enjoy anything that requires combined perseverance and physical effort, but he did today. I had to force my daughter to give up at 7 pm as it was high time to start cooking. After that, they both helped in the kitchen. To be fair, if they normally don’t, it is because I demand peace and quiet (and radio four) while I cook. All in all, it was a great day in the garden ! Spring, bring it on !

P.S. : The plant at the centre of the circle is viburnum plicatum Kilimandjaro. In the big unkempt ivy on the left is living one happy family of blackbirds (it was Christmas for them today !) and other smaller birds. The rotary dryer is awful, I know. The collection of pots nearer the shed is housing various dahlias. Five (or is it ten) years after everbody, I am finally overcoming the reluctance and trying them. After all, I am now old enough to savour the nostalgic reminder of my uncle’s garden, which was always full of them.

7 thoughts on “Bye bye turf

    1. Yes I noticed your lawn was gradually reducing. 😉 But I think the lawn you still have could cover my garden surface a good few times. 🙂

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  1. Wow, what a week for our gardens! How funny, I also went a bit berserk in the last couple of days and replanted the WHOLE of my shade garden! It must have been something in the air over the Channel 😂 Great that your kids were helping, they are creating great memories together and they will feel much more “ownership” of the garden now (or perhaps that’s not such a great thing? 😀) Do you have a “before” picture of the garden from the same angle? I really like the viburnum in the middle of the lawn! Good to know that it can successfully grow in a pot!

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    1. Oh I would love to see your newly planted shade garden ! 🙂 Today I managed to prepare almost one third of the new flowerbed surface and my wrists are very painful. I will look for a before picture – just more « lawn ». I have just ordered more alchemilla mollis and nasturtium to line the « path » and promise myself I won’t buy any more plants for this year (hum). My alchemilla hasn’t self seeded everywhere in spite of what everyone says.

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      1. Actually, I need to do that with my bearded iris about a week from today. It is so sad. They worked all last year to bloom now, and will be ruined. I know they will be fine in the long run, but I hate to ruin all their effort.

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