Guru of grass pays a visit

Guru Of GrassSometimes, I just get lucky and as I sit contemplating the perfect timing of the 21mls of rain that we had last night…I’m smiling and thinking about the new garden that was almost completed aside form a few finishing touches yesterday. I was head down, bottom up laying some large profile rainbow stone mulch, in a small section of a beautiful new garden I’ve created in City Beach. Incorporated into my design of this garden are two small areas and some very long swathes of verdant green Palmetto soft leaf buffalo lawn which wrap around the entire home, sort of hugging it with a big green blanket.

Now, before you start… I can hear some saying “LAWN? WHY LAWN? and I’ve put this in caps on purpose because the “anti lawners” in this state who believe that all council verges should be wood chips and native plants will be saying that lawn uses too much water and is not so responsible in a drying climate. I dispute that. There are situations where lawn is exactly what is required. There are places where real lawn (I HATE(!) synthetic turf) is a wonderful solution. I remember my mate Mark Webb, the CEO of Kings Park Botanic Garden telling me that when Steven Hopper now at Kew Gardens in London, handed over the reins to him his last advice was “whatever you do Keep The Lawns Green”…and Thankfully Mark has done that and much more but that’s another blog.

This new garden I’ve created sits on a large corner block and the council verge area is vast. It’s a very large and very stunning Giorgi Exclusive Homes home, sitting high on top of what is basically a sand dune, looking out over the beautiful Indian Ocean. This area is crying out for green space and a soft foil for the home and lawn certainly ticks those boxes. You can’t get any greener than this beautiful lawn supplied and laid by Westland Turf. It is spectacular and will survive and thrive with care, on 2 waterings per week. In addition, to the lawn and garden beds there are areas in the garden in which I have used grasses like Lomandra ‘Keira and ‘Tilga’ with mulch around them. A very long high white boundary wall is now home to lots of Ficus Pumila which in time will cover that wall and reduce the reflective heat currently going straight back into the house. I have also planted 24 well thought out trees on what was a completely barren cleared site. It is starting to look like a home and not just a building.

so, I digress…back to the Guru of Grass…I always like to defer to experts-I see this as the opposite of weakness-finding the person who knows more than you and seeking their advice can only benefit the outcome and so when I was talking to my dear Horticulture Media Association buddy and Lawn Consultant, Nick Bell last week at a Tree Symposium in Bullsbrook, I asked him to come out and visit the new garden. Surrounding yourself with great knowledgeable people willing to share is a wonderful thing. Nick kindly took the time to spoke with my client and offered some welcome advice about caring for the new lawn and what to look out for when seeking a lawn mowing professional, the type of equipment required and the care this lawn needs in order to keep it in pristine condition as it establishes itself in its new surrounds. I have great respect for Nick, he’s got more experience in managing lawn than I’ve had glasses of champagne and that’s a lot! Nick has been taking care of lawns for more than 50 years. Here’s what Nick had to say when he appeared on Channel 7’s Today Tonight with some great advice as we head into summer in Perth.

According to Nick there are four simple steps to a better lawn – Feed with a slow release fertiliser 4 times a year. Ensure full water coverage. Use a wetting agent to ensure good water penetration -And mow to the correct height -“what do we do about dead patches? take the fork and prick them you’ll notice this fork has special chisel shaped tines I like this fork that’s because round tines make a hole in the corner of the hole it’s compacted the earth has to go somewhere, where as this one you just push it in give it a little wiggle and that disturbs the earth below the tine and allows the water to penetrate, so aerated well fertilised judiciously watered and the key is mowing.”

So Thanks ‘Guru of Grass’ for taking time out of your day to come visit my very appreciative client and share your sage advice with us. Love your work!