Whenever Cruella (my wife) wants to be horrible to me – which to be fair is quite often – she mentions my bald patch. In the case of most men this would refer to their receding hair, but in my case it’s the lawn. She knows that twice I have tried to repair the bald patch on my lawn, in both cases at great expense, but both have similarly failed. She now calls me Wayne Rooney. When I asked her why? She said we have both spent a lot of money on failed transplants and are ugly.
Now I know that not many people have lawns or any type of grass in Spain. And that those do have them are either mad or masochists. But you can’t beat the look of grass, the fun to be had feeding it, strimming, mowing, raking and scarifying and that’s just one week. So if like me you have a bald patch then in the words of Henry V “once more unto the breech dear friends”.
24 September. Things I have been doing lately:
Dealing with my bald patch. My past efforts at dealing with the patch on my lawn have involved using the very expensive “Kikuyu” seed. This is reputedly hardy and can stand anything. Unfortunately I did not get one blade of grass despite great expense, watering twice daily and being covered by fleece to protect the seed from birds.
For my new attempt I am trying a brand of proprietary ready mixed seed and feed all in one treatment. The starting point for any grass sowing is to make sure that it has a suitable base soil. In my case this meant sieving soil that I had stored from various digs around the garden. Once you have sieved an appropriate amount of soil, you then need to rake over the bald patch and sprinkle the sieved soil over the bald patch to provide a suitable base for the seed.
As I began to sprinkle my “all in one” seed and feed the birds began to gather like vultures surrounding a thirsty man in the desert. They even began to chirrup and whistle cheerfully like fat men looking forward to dinner. In an effort to ward them off both I and the marauding Labradors charged them. But all of this was to little avail as Tango is blind and couldn’t see them and Nero has crippling arthritis in one of his front legs so wasn’t very good at charging. the birds just hopped back a couple of metres and commenced the cheerful chirruping.
As a last resort I covered the seed with lightly sieved soil to hopefully hide the seed from the birds – who were watching my every move. I finished the whole thing off by hanging some old CD’s from canes and finally watering. I will let you know what happens. The photos below show my my assembled bald patch fighting equipment, soil sieving production line, and finally my CD’s waving bravely in the wind. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Shaping trees and bushes. You should always leave the really big prunes till January. But, If you want to keep your bushes and trees shapely, now is the last time you will be able to trim and prune this year. The benefit of trimming now is two fold. Firstly, you keep the major infrastructure parts of your garden intact and shapely which gives overall structure. Secondly, by trimming whilst there is still growth you ensure that if you over trim or create a bald patch then you will still have growth that will cover your mistake.
The alternative is that you trim later when there is no growth and you suffer the indignity of an over trimmed bald tree or bush all winter till next Spring’s growth arrives to hide your shame. In my case you also have to suffer the indignity of Cruella bringing it up at every opportunity. I have already been to counselling over her haranguing over the lawn bald patch.
I always start my shape pruning by bringing my Olive tree back into shape. I cloud pruned this a number of years ago and when it is freshly shaped it is lovely and a talking point in the garden. Many of you will have Olive trees and will just let them grow into shapeless lumps. Left to themselves these trees will look scraggy and untidy and eventually make a mess underneath as the Olives fall off. If you are not processing the Olives then I would advise you to reshape the tree to make it a visually stunning part of your garden.
The first photo below show my Olive tree just about ready for its twice annual trimming.
The two photos below provide examples not only of my prowess in cloud pruning, but also hint at my hidden artistic talent. I mourn for the career I could have had in fashion photography. Click on each photo for a larger view.
After reshaping the Olive tree I tend to look down my drive to where a large Californian False Pepper and a Myrtle bush dominate the end of the drive. This view down the drive and on into the wild wood sets the overall feel of the garden for those either driving in or walking down the drive. If these two plants are left to get scruffy and overgrown then it removes much of the shape and overall structure of the garden.
The big Californian Pepper I had professionally loped a while ago to bring it back into my overall reach. The new growth is now sprouting like crazy both from the trunk and the top of the tree. So if I don’t get on top of it now then it will again be out of reach. The photos below show the tree before its trim and afterwards. Cruella claims she can see no difference; but as she can only come out at night it does prove problematic. I have provided a caption on each photo for clarity.
Reshaping the Myrtle bush is all a matter of timing. It provides the forefront to a stand of Yuccas set behind it. The starkness of the Yucca spikes are a good foil to the rounded shape of the Myrle. It flowers profusely and is a real joy to behold. So you need to time the trimming so that you lose as little flowering as possible, but still have some growth to cover up any mistakes you might make.
As I walk down the drive towards what I term the “Technical Area” the Myrtle guards the entrance to this sacred place. The Technical Area is where the shed, potting benches, compost bins and water tanks are, and it is from this area that all of the garden eventually emerges as seeds or cuttings. In her usual disparaging way Cruella (my wife) calls this area the dump.
The photos below show the Mytrle prior to its trim and in all its proud glory afterwards.