Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Yesterday was a bright, crisp, sunny day here in Utilityland.

Which meant that no less than THREE of my neighbours mowed their lawns.

It's midwinter.

The people in my street are clearly losing their minds ...




... or are they? Is the idea that you shouldn't mow the lawn outside the growing season just an old housewives' tale, such as the one that dictates that you shouldn't wash your hair every day, or the one that says that you shouldn't bathe during a period (EUUHH)?

Basically I want someone who does a bit of gardening to reassure me that it's wrong, man, and that you shouldn't mow the lawn until March, with the mower on a high setting so the grass isn't too short. As tradition states.

... or should I be out there ensuring that the garden looks as perfectly manicured as the courts on the opening day at Wimbledon all year round?

Oh well. As you were.

Betty, I hope "mowing the lawn" isn't another of your girly euphamisms.
Considering nearly every plant in my garden seems to be blooming already and it's MID-JANUARY, I can utterly sympathise with their taking no chances. In the summer, when there's a hosepipe ban, their grass will be dead anyway.
I meant "euphemisms" of course. Paws on keyboards etc
Coming out of lurkdom to say: No, you shouldn't mow your lawn in winter because if there is a severe frost it will kill the grass. BTW my neighbours do it too, but they also line their plants up in straight rows so are obviously a bit anal.
The partner of a lawn obsessive replies: you're right to leave things be, and the neighbours are just being silly.
I'm in agreement with de-lurked Kate. For one - yes - it could get frost and then die and secondly, the ground is too wet even if it is a sunny day which means you can kill parts of the grass by inadvertently ripping them out with the mower. Where do you live? Stepford?
Since you can't ride horses at that time either, you might just let them loose in your yard to keep the grass down.
Murph - perish the thought. There will be no references to lady gardens and the like on this clean, family blog. All around me people are writing about all manner of filth - yes, that means you Ms Spinsterella and you Mr LC! Here, I'm following the fine example set by MJ and promoting good, clean family values.

Wyndham - to be honest, some of my begonias are still in bloom (just about). That's my tip for the lazy gardener actually - plant begonias. I planted mine in about April, have just left them to their own devices and they're still hanging on for grim life!

Kate - welcome, and thanks for the reassurance. Down here at the moment it's difficult to believe that there'll be a frost this winter, but you never know. As for people lining their plants up in straight rows - say no more. That's our next door neighbour down to a tee. I might say to him next time I see him "stop being so anal maan, you need to chill out!"

Mike - phew, good to see that I'm doing the right thing. Isn't it bad for the environment anyway (disturbing dormant wildlife for one thing. If there is actually any wildlife in a five mile radius!)

Rockmother - too true. Our neighbour's garden now has big patches of turfless mud. Stepford might be an improvement, but I'm saving that up for a What's Wrong With The Neighbours post in the near future ;)

MJ - sadly, there aren't any horses in the vicinity. I might buy a couple of sheep for that purpose. Now, that would REALLY make me popular with everyone who lives by us.
Grass doesn't normally grow in Winter - that's why you shouldn't have to mow it.

It's global warming and WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

Or something.

I don't know why I'm talking mind, I've never moved a lawn in my life. That's what landlords are for.
Just nosy neighbours trying to spy on the orgy going on in your house.
Spinsterella - well, if everyone uses their electric mowers all year round, that's only going to speed up global warming. Er, probably. I've got a manual mower (pats self on back).

Kaz - thing is, we only have the orgies at weekends now. Mind you, as I said earlier, this is a good, clean, family blog, so I won't elaborate further.
Bollocks to global warming. 'I can hear the grass grow', as the Move once said. After taking too much acid, obviously.
What's this about frost killing mowed lawns? There's a couple of acres of meadow outside this place with two horses cropping it down to the roots. Been like that for decades and the frost hasn't got it yet. But it is too wet. The pond in the field is full of water weed. It's not died off for the winter yet. Quite bizarre.
Have you ever considered a goat? I know I have...and I don't have a garden.
Mark - are you adopting a Jeremy Clarkson persona to catch us off guard? I'll have you know that I recycle, don't drive, use those re-useable bags in the supermarket, run around switching lights off etc. I know it's not enough but I'm not that much of a self-serving cynic!

Richard - well, I've attempted to mow a damp lawn before, with a manual mower. Won't be trying again. It's a strangely mild winter, with a lot of deciduous shrubs still having leaves and flowers blooming.
Rhino 75 - ooer missus! I'm sure a goat wouldn't be approved of by the neighbours. Anyway, don't they really stink during the mating season?!
ooh, the world's gone mad. etc.

speaking as someone who has never mowed a lawn in their life, i have nothing to add to this thread. um, except to remind you all to cast ne'er a clout til may is out, whatever that means (didn't adrian mole's nan think it was something to do with keeping your vest on?)

*shuts up*
"I don't know why I'm talking mind, I've never moved a lawn in my life. That's what landlords are for."

Bah, at least you've got a lawn.

I say leave it, you don't want to be copying the neighbours.
I'm enjoying the howling gales and horizontal rain.

Roll on Spring.

I'm looking forward to taking down the first migratory wildfowl with my trusty sidearm.
Sorry for being serious here, but lawns have got to go. They are an antiquated remnant of Victorian garden design and should never have happened. Just think, then we would be free of all these pathetically anal people buzzing around with mowers. Grass is for animals to eat you daft buggers.
Surly Girl - nans always say that because they feel the cold and think everyone should wear a coat for ninety nine per cent of the year. They also have the heating turned up to tropical levels all year round as well.

Billy - I know, I'm really grateful just to have a garden, so I shouldn't really complain about maintenance of it.

Garfer - I imagine you'll be out there in plus fours and deerstalker with your retriever dog at your side. I look forward to spring for the same reason - it's when children start playing on their bikes outside and I can use them for target practice with my air rifle.

Tom - note to other readers: Tom lives in the countryside. Lucky Tom. The rest of us who have to live in a concrete environment of course shouldn't have any access to even a few square yards of greenery. It serves us right for being poor, after all.
Yes Betty, good point well made - forgot about all the city dwellers. But come on, you could have a nice little yard/terrace (note carefully avoiding using the word 'patio')to sit out on and surround it with perrenial borders and a few nice shrubs. And if you must have some grass how about letting it grow and flower, and then in the autumn cut it down and feed it to your guinea pig.
The main thing is anyone who has grass, if they want to mow it, do it by hand. Better for the environment, better for your health, and for sure the vast acreage of lawns would diminish overnight. All those sodding lawn chemicals - no sorry, there are no good reasons for lawns.
signing off tom909, chairman of the Grass Liberation Front.
Tom - got the borders and the shrubs. It would be lovely to have meadowy grass and wild flowers, but the fact is that both of us suffer from hay fever and Geoff also gets asthma. One of our previous neighbours couldn't mow the lawn because she was disabled, so the grass grew a couple of feet. All the summers that she was there we'd end up wheezing and sneezing because of all the pollen in the air. I don't want to concrete everything over so I use a (manual) lawnmower. I never use weedkiller or lawnfeed and try to encourage wildlife with the choice of plants, but there are limits to what you can do on a South London estate!
Sorry Betts, didn't mean to go off on one about lawns. Whatever next eh! And i was walking through our local town this afternoon and there was a lot of grass - never really noticed it before. It just annoys me when the bloke next door gets his strimmer out on a sunday morning.
No worries Tom. Come to think of it, there was a couple who no one ever saw who lived a few doors down who used to mow the lawn at about 7 in the morning at weekends which was bloody annoying.
Oh Bum. 19 January and already I feel completely socially inadaquate because I don't have a lawn. Quick! Somone mix me a G&T. Hold the T.
There seem to be a few people who've commented here who don't have lawns either (apart from Tom, who seems to have several hundred acres of land). Why not try laying astroturf down in your living room? A lot less high maintenance than real turf and it doesn't cause hayfever either.
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