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The Lawn, in Light & Shadow

The Lawn, in Light & ShadowGod spreads a carpet soft and green.
O'er which we pass:
A thick-piled mat of jewelled sheen
And that is Grass.


Grass forms a delightful edging to garden paths, but it requires to be well kept, otherwise it is unsightly. To afford facilities for mowing, a level breadth of turf sufficient in width to accommodate the lawn-mower should be laid along either side; this is especially necessary if sloping banks rise immediately from the sides of the walk. In the wild garden, natural edgings, ground ivy, cotoneaster, or St John's wort will look more appropriate than either mown turf or tiles. Walks and path­ways must always be considered as part of design, but their utility and convenience should be the first point studied.

It is disappointing to see in many places the arid stretches of gravel, walks of more than necessary width, and carriage sweeps large enough to turn a coach and four: all this lessens the space available for turf and flowers, and offers nothing in return, as the cost of up­keep is in no way decreased.

As a recent garden artist has declared, the lawn is the heart of the British garden. It is the centre of the social life which, in our too brief summer, is enacted out of doors; it is the setting for the host of beautiful flowers and shrubs which come to gladden our hearts as the warm sun dispels the snows and mists of winter. That style of design must be accounted best which spares no pains to give a fair spreading lawn to every garden, no matter what its size. Nothing tends to give greater breadth and dignity to a place than a stretch of well kept turf, and nothing is more restful to the eye than the prospect of cool greensward.

The lawn, or a portion of it, should always be seen from the best parts of the house; not even the choicest shrubs, or the richest terrace gardens, will satisfy in the same manner, on large lawns there may be recesses at intervals, in which tender plants or choice colonies of lilies, backed with rhododendrons and azalea, will receive comparative shelter.

The impression of space is very ably conveyed by a good lawn, and this is the more easily attained if there are but few walks in the vicinity. An irregular fringe of shrubs, with taller trees behind, the whole gradually merging into the distant vista, is one of the most satisfactory ways of closing in the lawn from the rest of the garden. It is often a temptation when space is limited to sacrifice a large portion of greensward, so that more flowers may be grown. It would be best to consider matters very carefully before removing a single sod of turf. If more room is needed, a few bold masses of herbaceous plants near the edge of the lawn will probably give the best results.

There is no defence for the barbarous practice of dotting the grass with flower-beds, cut in a variety of ill-considered shapes, neither should clumps of shrubs be placed so that they destroy all sense of perspective. The softly undulating meadow lands of the landscape, with their rich fringe of native woodland, will teach the designer much of the beauty and value of the garden lawn; and in the planning of the best effects, he may with safety study the lessons which Nature provides in almost every direction.

Some types of grass to build your lawn:

Pacey's Short-Seeded Rye
Fancy re-cleaned Red Top Grass
Kentucky Bluegrass
Crested Dogstail
Chewings Fescue Creeping Bent

Mixture for Clay and Moist Soils:
Fancy Red Top
Pacey's Rye Grass
Orchard Grass
Kentucky Bluegrass
Meadow Fescue

Mixture for Shady Places:
Red Fescue
Crested Dogstail Hard Fescue
Pacey's Rye Grass Canada Bluegrass

Mixture for Dry and Sandy Soils:
Fancy Red Top
Chewings Fescue
Crested Dogstail
Canada Bluegrass
Alsike Clover

In order to feed the grass and keep it in good condition one must apply a top dressing early in the spring just as the grasses begin to grow.