We’ve had two straight weeks of rain and constant drizzle and I still can’t get that grass to take root.
Stick a fork in it – I’m done.
That grass isn’t the nice easy stuff that grows just about anywhere else in my garden – all I need to do is spread a little seed. That grass (pronounced through the gritted teeth of frustration) is the culmination of a few years of trying every gimmick, variety, and installation method the turf grass industry offers, and still, I look out upon a couple of weedy tufts and dust.
I’m not sure why that grass won’t grow – certainly a variety of factors are at play (soil, slope, moisture, exposure, etc) but I’ve finally decided to quit. As I become the ever-more seasoned gardener, I’ve learned that not only can you not win in a battle with mother nature. And the best way forward is to find a mutually agreeable third-party solution. I think of it as garden diplomacy. I want lush ground cover (grass) – she (mother nature) doesn’t – so we must find an alternative.
I have decided to take a cue from what I see working. I’m hoping that these are options that thrive in a way that grass does not.
Elfin Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) – A few years back, I visited a B&B way up north in Vermont and it was only when I went out for a walk that I noticed the huge expanse of what appeared to be a turf ‘lawn’ wasn’t actually lawn at all… it was thyme! It was green and lush and it smelled heavenly.
Burgundy Glow Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) — Else where in my garden a patch of ajuga has infiltrated the grass and along with the dandelions it creates a thick lovely cover that is beautiful with grass-height purple flowers when un-mowed. The bees love it, and it is equally nice when mowed – to my mind is every bit as lovely as grass. Burgundy glow has a lovely variegation in the leaves and I think it will be beautiful with the Thyme and Dead Nettle.
Ghost Spotted Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum) – I have some glorious clumps of taller Lamium that are thriving in an even more inhospitable area of my garden. They are real performers and great addition to a collection of spring bloomers. This is a bit of an experiment (I admit) but I read that Lamium responds well to mowing — and I am thinking that I can enjoy its blooms early and then mow and enjoy it is silvery green leaves for the rest of the season. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’m curious if anyone else has opted to replace turf with a different ground cover. What did you use and how did it work for you? I’d love a more few ideas!