[Infographic] How to create your urban garden?
The day our news isn’t full of doom and gloom will be an incredible day. The day when disaster, natural and manmade, is not being reported somewhere in the world will be a first for everyone.
So why on earth should anyone want to add to this torrent of bad news, especially when in truth it is ‘fake news’?
You may have noticed a new trend, a truly unwelcome and unnecessary one, to pick on one of life’s few guaranteed pleasures – gardening – as a source for bad-news stories, the sort that sell.
Now, gardeners are known for their love of a good moan – anything will do, from caterpillar plagues to biblical weather catastrophes. But deep down they retain an optimism that nature will, eventually, win through. They are amongst the most positive people on earth.
So why do some commentators keep feeding them with fake news about lawns? Why do they misrepresent the lawn as a symptom of all that is wrong and unsustainable about gardening – the one thing above so many others that helps to keep us sane and healthy?
Get real people!
Grass is here to stay, and lawns are here to stay. That’s why the future is green. And let me tell you why I know this.
The act of gardening is an act of irrepressible optimism. Just like the farmer, we sow seeds, we take fruit tree grafts, we plant cuttings – and we hope that they will take. We have no guarantee, just optimistic hope.
But we also have a helping hand – and no, for once I’m not talking about nature.
We have amazingly clever and ingenious boffins working in the background to ensure we still enjoy our gardens in decades to come, whatever changes there may be to our weather patterns.
Gardening and horticulture is a massive – and I mean massive – industry. Huge sums of money are spent on research and development. And this helps to ensure that vast sums of our spending money continue to pass through garden centre tills and online gardening outlets.
In fact, I would say that investment in healthy lawns has never been greater.
I admit that we are never likely to have lawn grass that remains lush and green all year round, through monsoons, droughts, periods of permafrost, etc. etc. You can’t completely reinvent nature.
But we can innovate – and the horticultural industry is one of our all-time great innovators!
Just as we invented the mower to replace scythes and sheep, and the sprinkler to replace buckets and watering cans, we also now have new types of grass seed coming out of the laboratories and test fields. And it’s been going on for years.
A long time ago, when garden centres were just beginning, was just grass seed on sale; that was it. Then came grass for shady areas – a big improvement and a great help for many a struggling gardener.
And now, by carefully selecting the right blend of preferred characteristics from different grass varieties, we also have grasses that can withstand all kinds of other challenges. Some of these are only available in the amenity market, but they will eventually filter through to the domestic market too.
Not only that – the scientists are starting with a winning advantage; unlike many other types of garden plant, nature designed grass to be incredibly resilient.
Natural native grass is so simple but so amazing. It’s the most adaptable plant on earth. It’s going to take a lot more than some cheaply-peddled doom and gloom to kill it off. And while we don’t know just how far science can help in evolving even more robust grasses, I think the future is pretty darned good for lawns.
David Hedges-Gower is the UK’s leading lawn expert and has more than 36 years of lawn and turf experience. Professional grounds people, landscape specialists, commercial property developers and leisure gardeners – have benefited from David’s enthusiasm and knowledge.
David is a National Trust advisor and was formerly advisor to Homebase, he is a regular on BBC Radio and a favourite on the national horticultural lecture circuit.
David’s fantastic new book on Modern Lawn Care extends his love for and knowledge of the topic. This is the first comprehensive and authoritative guide to lawn care for over 40 years!
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