Happy Father’s Day! What chores does a dad do all summer? He mows the lawn and trims around trees in the yard. It seems to never end when you ask most dads.
Is there any help, aside from family or a mowing service? Yes, there is help, perhaps in another form — a smaller yard to mow or different mowing equipment.
At our house, my dad mowed nearly an acre and a half and hand-weeded and hoed over an acre of vegetable and flower garden every summer until the very day he died in his sleep, in his early 90s. His work was certainly done — it was spotless in the yard and garden.
My hubby mows about an acre and a half and we did have a good-sized garden for a season. After he came out of the hospital our first year here in a new home, in the late spring, we knew we had to do something else. Hubby needed to rest and not overtire himself, not only for that spring, but for the rest of his mowing and gardening years.
The first thing we did was let the garden go from a vegetable/flower type garden to a wildflower-pollinator garden. The first year the wild flowers said thank you by producing copious amounts of blooms of all kinds. Bees and butterflies hovered over the tops of the blooms of their favorites. It was beautiful.
In the fall I planted daffodil bulbs on the garden edges, to see if there was too much shade produced from the old flower stalks for the daffodils to bloom. The daffodils bloomed like they had lived there a very long time. This fall I will plant even more daffodil bulbs in the meadow type garden. The daffodils are done blooming before the wild flowers leaf and bloom out, so this is a perfect mixture and use of the same garden space.
This is the second year of the wild garden. My hubby found a single Jack-in-the-Pulpit growing, but I am sure there must be more. It is growing in a part of the garden that does not get as much sun as the rest. It will be interesting to see what wildflowers bloom this year.
Now to trimming. If the trees, bushes and beds of flowers need to be trimmed as much or more than the yard they live in, they probably could be edged better. Consider a physical barrier, like in-ground bricks that are laid even with the yard, so the mower could mow the lawn and perform the trimming at the same time. That would save the mower’s time and cut down on the need for a trimmer designated for this purpose.
Yes, there is always the time allotted to dealing with the string issues — too much string, no string — as you run out just when you needed it, etc. Trimmers have been tossed in the garbage because of string frustration.
As for the lawn mower, there are some fabulous new mowers out. To mow more space, in less time, the new machines offer larger mower blades and the ability to make very tight turns. The lawn mower commercial says, “It is not how much you mow, but how fast you mow it”; this is a perfect slogan for sales of these very fine and expensive machines and meet modern expectations of an estate-type lawn for any type home — large or small, in the minimum time required.
Why do we need lawns that compete with the lawns of the landed gentry in England? Maybe that answers my pondering question — that is, why, because we are not the landed gentry of England, but we are every bit as good.
We can have a huge lawn too and no hired help. We simply are as good, if not better than them. We are lawn snobs. We have arrived. Maybe we are the new landed American gentry, if our lawn is big enough? How big is your lawn? Mine is bigger.
Happy Father’s Day!
Master Gardener Fredi Stangland resides in Medina.