[gardeners] Grass *is* low maintenace (but I hate it)

Matt Trahan (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sat, 03 Oct 1998 02:30:01 -0400

 It depends on which side of the coin you're looking at. Gardeners are a
special breed. I know my gardens take less overall maintenace, but it has
to be done by me.
 When dealing with grass, most people will simply keep their 'green stuff'
(weeds, scrub grass, crab grass) scalped to the same height. This is done,
preferably, by the neighbors son for 10-20 bucks. (and is considered to be
much less maintenance!) <VBG>

 While 'everyone' wants a beautiful lawn and lots of flowers, only
gardeners are willing to care for it.
 It's also a blind spot with some people. In mid spring two years ago I was
on the phone (thankfully) and asked a client "What's blooming in your
garden this week?". She said "Oh, I haven't had a chance to
*look*out*the*window* lately." (she ment this month! And her personal and
professional lives weren't that busy at the time)
 I guess not everyone is fascinated by spring and new growth.

 Another thing to consider is visual square footage verse usable square
footage. Lots of shrubs and ground covers look fantastic, but all you can
do with the space is look at it and hand weed it. Grass can be walked on
and played on, and you can set chairs out for a family gathering.

 If we ever move, I'm sure I'll have problems selling our house. I've
reduced the grass in the back yard to a 20 by 40 foot patch, just big
enough for a few chairs and the dogs.
 We have a 10 foot round pond, 18 inches deep, easy for small children in
the back yard to fall or climb into, even if they don't actually get hurt.
 Several small hedges that need to be hand pruned to avoid 'brown
edges'(leyland cypress).
 Lots of plants that need occational trimming. Pampas grass (razor sharp
edges) that should be cut back once a year (thankfully it's in February,
when I want to be wearing long pants and a sweatshirt and gloves)

 I've actually had people be offended by my garden.
 My Dad - "But it looks like a jungle with all these small trees and
shrubs. You've even got banana plants back here."
 Me - "Yes, I know, that's the effect I wanted." 

 Don't get me wrong, they have a wonderful suburban yard that gets lots of
complements from the neighbors. Dad is a proper New England lawn man,
immaculate, dark green Tall Fescue till the end. Mom has a beautiful strip
of garden by the side of the driveway, maybe 4 feet deep by 40 feet long.
Lots of annuals in window boxes and in the appropriate color areas by the
doors. They have the usual well manicured shrubs across the front, and a
kousa dogwood and a red maple on either side of the front of the house. 
 If you're planning on selling your house, this is probably what a 'real'
yard should look like. :-)

Matt Trahan  <matttrahan@ecsu.campus.mci.net> or <garden@juno.com>
USDA zone 8, AHS heat zone 7, Sunset zone 31, northeastern N.C.