The lawn saga got under way many years ago when I decided that weeds shouldn’t be allowed to grow in our new lawn. So I used to kneel down and yank them out. The kids and their friends would play around me. It got a bit dangerous when they were belting hockey balls against the garage wall.
But what was more dangerous was the deterioration of my knees. Not physical but visual. Calluses appeared and I have never got rid of them. (I used to quite like my knees).
Some decades on nothing has changed. There’s a new lawn – buffalo grass, planted around six years ago in a lovely round shape devised by my husband the architect. Buffalo grass will be good, I was told. Weeds don’t grow in it.
First came the creeping oxalis. It’s quite pretty when the little yellow flowers are out. It makes a tapestry through the long arms of the buffalo. I have sprayed it with special poison – reluctantly – for two years now, in summer when it is galloping around – but it doesn’t seem to work. I don’t like poison. Maybe it knows.
Then the kikuyu that used to grow in the old lawn resurfaced. I called in the cavalry with Scott, our wonderful hedge-trimming and heavy garden maintenance guy. He lifted a huge square of buffalo and yanked out all the kikuyu. These grasses don’t look that different but the kikuyu is meaner and leaner and not such a pretty colour. That should fix it, we thought. It hasn’t, it’s back.
And each year comes the winter grass. Little bright green tufts that are quite easy to see against the buffalo, whose colour is a bit flat in winter. Especially in the middle of the day, when the sun is out. I looked at it this year and thought oh no, there’s too much, I can’t do this any more. Especially as when you extract a big tuft of the stuff, you need to make very sure there aren’t little edge bits left behind, because they will quickly mushroom. Then the inner me emerged. ‘Don’t be weak’ it said. ‘I’ll do 20 a day’ I promised myself.
Twenty? What a joke! I’m up to 200 a day and three weeks later – it’s a big lawn – I have given the winter grass a fright. I’m leaving the dead bits to lie there for a bit. Maybe they will deliver a message to the stuff that is still growing.
I have a magic tool, a little two-pronged fork that you get underneath the roots with. Couldn’t manage without it.
What I can manage without, however, are those ugly calluses on my kneecaps. I’ve decided not to post an image of those!