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The Grass is Always Greener Garden design


Ladies and Gentlemen – Allow me to introduce you to one of the most expensive things you can have, per square metre, in your garden. A perfect lawn. One of the most extraordinary examples of this is to be


found in the quadrangle of Worcester College in Oxford. It is indeed a thing of exquisite perfection and is generally considered to be the finest lawn in Oxford or Cambridge, and therefore in Britain, and therefore the World. Set foot on it at your peril. Look but don’t touch. This edict will also apply to any passing insects wanting to benefit in some way from its presence. For whilst it is an exceptional example of a well-manicured lawn, it is necessarily limited in the amount of pollen, nectar or shelter within its perfect boundaries. (Full disclosure, Worcester College also has magnificent insect-friendly grounds). The current edict from the gardening gurus is to ‘stop


mowing your lawn’. The mere thought of which would no doubt send the excellent gardeners in Oxford, who slave on it for hours each week, into apoplexy. So we seem to have two diametrically opposing lawn camps. In the real world I think there is room for both. From recent conversations with clients, I also get the


impression that the great lawn debate is split on gender lines. It is perhaps a somewhat contentious view but meticulous lawn mowing and weed eradication does seem to be a male obsession, whilst allowing the grass to grow and a little lawn anarchy seems to appeal more to the female gardener. This is one area of garden design where the adage


‘moderation in all things’ can apply. By all means mow your lawns if there are areas that you really need cropped. But don’t just assume that all grass has to be short. You do need to keep the grass adjoining areas of ornamental planting under control otherwise your beds will be invaded.


by Colette Charsley


Image of Worcester College lawn with thanks to Simon Bagnall (Head Gardener).


The current edict from the gardening


gurus is to ‘stop mowing your lawn’.


However, it is well worth allowing some grass to grow long. You will be amazed by how different it makes a garden feel and by the amount of wildlife that is attracted to it. Mown paths through long grass are a wonderful invitation to explore for both young and old. You can experiment with mowing different shapes and patterns. Use curves, squares or circles. Let your imagination lead you. And, like foolish youthful haircuts – it will always grow back if you don’t like it.


colette@charsleydesign.com www.charsleydesign.com t: 01548 581753 m: 07774 827799 Follow me on Twitter @ColetteCharsley Professional Landscape & Garden Design


Creative and beautiful designs for village, town and country gardens


Colette Charsley PG Dip OCGD t: 01548 581753 m: 07774 827799


colette@charsleydesign.com www.charsleydesign.com


Unmown lawns can do this.


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