My other name is “sod-buster”. I always seem to forget how much work a garden is when I am looking at a patch of mowed lawn and thinking it’s a poor use of space, that for heaven’s sake flowers could be growing there. Only later, after the grass is dug out or covered over, do I think how running a lawn mower over it every other week would be a lot easier than weeding, edging, dividing, planting, weeding, amending, weeding, edging…..forever after. Then I could just do a lot of this:
Oh, well. So, I do not have any photos of the back yard before I started destroying the grass, but I remember it. It was a smooth expanse of lawn sloping from the woodshed down to the bottom of the driveway going into the garage. On the south side, a wall of old-fashioned lilacs. On the West side, up against the woodshed, the apple tree with its feet in a carpet of wild daylilies. On the north side, the upper driveway. On the east, more driveway and the garage. In the southeast corner, a regal, mature Norway Spruce presides. It’s a terrific spot, with good soil, good drainage, great light and protection from the prevailing winds by the house. The only problems are the telephone/electric pole in the middle of the space, and the vigor of the lilac hedge, which sends shoots enthusiastically trying to colonize the back yard.
Here are a few pictures of the end of one of the last patches of lawn, between the main garden and the apple tree garden. The first one is taken in May when I had just planted the row of dahlias:After planting them I smothered the area around them to help with moisture retention and weed suppression. This picture was taken on June 1. Look how green everything is! The peonies are budded…
And one month later I took another bite out when I planted five daylilies I bought from Oakes.
I didn’t dig sod, I just smothered the grass. It’s kinder to my back and also to all the good creatures living in the sod and soil. I put down thick layers of wetted newspaper and then piled on lots of old hay. This is a picture from mid July. This is standing in the driveway, showing the telephone pole, the supply of hay and rocks, the spruce and the garage. This picture is taken about a week later, showing the same thing from under the apple tree. You can see the last bit of lawn is not going to last long…Gone!–this picture was taken August 22, and I spent August 20 and 21 smothering the last of the lawn with huge sheets of cardboard what we got at a local furniture store. After the cardboard, lots of hay. On the right is the pathway I created by digging out the grass. I then covered the bare dirt with cardboard and then wood shavings. It’s a wide path. Below is another picture of that area, taken a week later, from the other side–you can see the apple tree has formed little apples. You can also see one of the spots where I planted the five new peonies I bought from Khlem’s Songsparrow nursery. Then fast forward to mid November–the garden is asleep. Work is done for the year!