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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Embrace Mowing for a Happier Life

On the occasion of the completion of the 25th mowing of my lawn this season, I ask you to consider embracing mowing for a happier life.

I suspect there are some who look down on those of us who will admit that we enjoy mowing the lawn. They are probably shaking their heads right now and getting ready to hit the "delete" key on this post.

Perhaps they think we are some kind of faux gardeners, those of us who enjoy mowing. That we are not yet enlightened on the joys of either hiring a mowing crew to mow for us or completely obliterating our lawns so we never have to mow again.

They think we don't get "it".

But I'm still standing by, and on, my lawn. I think it is a wonderful backdrop to the rest of the garden, a place to look to rest your eyes, a sea of green that is calming and cooling.

I embrace mowing.

It's good exercise! I could walk on a treadmill, ride a stationary bike or even jog around the block while a mowing crew mowed my lawn. But where would I be when I was done? Right where I started but with less money in my pocket.

It's good think time! I've mowed my lawn so many times that I could probably mow it with my eyes closed, so while I'm mowing, I'm thinking about a lot of things, and not just about reducing the size of my lawn. I'm solving problems, making lists, and writing entire blog posts, like this one, in my head.

It's a money saver! If you are going to have a lawn, it is cheaper to mow it yourself than to pay a mowing crew, at least around here. All that money I save can be used to buy plants for the garden.

It's relaxing! Or it can be if you embrace it and just get out there and enjoy the exercise and fresh air.

And I'm thankful every time I mow the lawn that I still have the stamina, knees, and strength to mow my own lawn, and I hope I can do so for many more decades.

But even I, with an avatar featuring a woman in a long white dress mowing a lawn, would like to dig up some of her lawn (not all of it) and add another planting bed.

I've wanted to do this for awhile, but had some other areas of the garden that needed more attention, so I worked on those garden beds first.

But now that those beds are more or less straightened out, it is time to dig a new planting bed along this fence.

As I mow, I've been contemplating how to remove the sod. Till it in? Smother it with newspapers, compost, and mulch? Nuke it with Round Up and then dig it up? Dig it out section at a time by hand? Hire someone to do it at a cost of close to $1,000?

This bed will be approximately 64 feet long and since it will curve around those trees to include them in the bed, it's width will vary from five feet to maybe 15 feet, so it is a lot to dig up.

But since we've gotten so much rain this year, it is too wet to dig right now, so I have time to decide how to do it.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to embrace mowing and celebrate the 25th mowing of my lawn this year at May Dreams Gardens.

23 comments:

Laurie Fischer said...

ahhh, somebody who gets it! My husband doesnt understand why I dont have our son mow the lawn. I say to him...you dont understand, it all goes together for me...the garden, the lawn mowing, the trimming...it is where I find my peace.

Leslie said...

Oh Carol...all that virgin planting space makes me jealous! I am so looking forward to the evolution of the new fence border. But...no Roundup! Smother it or dig it up bit by bit. I can't wait to see what you've got planned!

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Sounds like the new planting area is going to be a beauty. I am jealous of your available space.

Perennial Gardener said...

I enjoy mowing our lawn too Carol. Your sea of green makes a pretty backdrop for the garden beds. Enjoy creating your new bed!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

If you aren't in a big rush to plant that bed smothering is a great way to get rid of the grass. Put a layers of newspaper or cardboard down in the shape of your new bed. Pile your leaves and any grass clippings on it and let it cook over winter. Then next spring you will have a place you can till up or dig up however you do it and plant.

What fun you will have choosing the plants for this bed. I can't wait to watch this space evolve into a flower bed.

Your lawn is the perfect foil for your plants. I don't like to mow though no matter what you say. I am lucky in that my DB has taken over the mowing duties since he retired.

Earth Girl said...

New bed, how exciting! I too have been contemplating a new bed along a hill. The problem is that it is primarily subsoil, thanks to a previous owner. (So what that it was 20 years ago? I'm just waiting for topsoil to rebuild.) I think perhaps this post may spur me to action. I always use the paper/compost approach, but this time I may have to really pile it on. btw, when will I see you and your sister at the historic site? Let me know so I will be sure to be there.

Rose said...

My husband could relate to the first part of this post better than me--I don't mow! Our yard is so large that it takes 4-6 hours to mow, so I'm not going to take that chore over anytime soon. But when I do spell him for a short while, I'm dreaming of new places for flowerbeds, too.
Good luck with your new bed; it's so much fun to plan one from scratch.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

"But I'm still standing by, and on, my lawn. " Great line.

I, too, love what little lawn I have left. I haven't done much mowing over the summer. I'm looking forward to fall when it starts raining and the grass starts growing again.

Layanee said...

I can see your new bed clearly! I used to love mowing the lawn. The EM decided to get a more efficient mower so he bought, second hand, one of those 48" landscape mowers. I will never use it but it does the job pretty fast! Maybe I'll crank up the little one for old time's sake a bit later as you have made me remember the sense of accomplishment, exercise and the wonderful smell of freshly mowed grass. Grass is here to stay for some of us anyway.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I also like mowing very much. Because we have an acreage, there's enough grass for all of us to mow if we want. I think about how good the grass looks as I mow. I plan my next query letter or blog post. I solve problems in my head.

I use a John Deere riding lawnmower, and I love. It's kind of zen like.~~Dee

Cindy said...

I am much relieved ... I thought you were going to ask me to embrace summer!

I can envision the new bed and what I see in my mind's eye is absolutely lovely! I look forward to your pictures of the work in progress.

Cindy said...

I love mowing. My husband and I share the duty since it takes several hours to mow all of our 6 hilly acres (he has to do the hilly part). But our riding mower is broken and the part doesn't come until maybe tomorrow. In the meantime the grass just grows. Hopefully it won't be a hayfield by the time it's fixed (and hopefully this part fixes it!)

Annie in Austin said...

Is twenty-five mowings before the middle of July a record, Carol? Is is self-propelled or is it really hard to move the mower after all the rain?

As you know, I'm already on record as liking my mowing time to ponder and think....but my grass is mainly watered by whatever 'leaks' over from adjacent borders and beds. We've had so little rain that there's not much to mow.

Now that we've met in person it's fun to picture the real Carol in that outfit with her mower!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Susy said...

I also LOVE mowing. I think DH has only mowed the yard twice in the 10 years we've been married (I had a migraine both time).

I'm thinking of getting a human powered reel mower, I wonder if I will like mowing as much with it?

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

My neighbor when I was growing up used to mow his lawn Every Day. I guess he really liked it. Mowing's OK, I try to do it different ways every time, sometimed in stripes like the ballpark.
Use your extra time to put in a mowing strip while creating that new bed. A brick mowing strip makes mowing so much easier & it looks tidy too.

Brenda said...

I totally agree that green is a beautiful back drop for all the flowers! I am not the mower in my house, my hubby is, but I love the results! Your new bed will be gorgeous, good luck and happy planning/planting!

vertie said...

Even though I have referred to you as a mow-aholic in the past, I do understand. My husband loves to mow, and I have to temper my desire to remove all the lawn with his need to mow. He asks for so little that I feel a need to honor his wishes in this matter.

Too bad all the early heat and drought we've had here has pretty much killed what grass we had.-)

Carol said...

All, I'm very pleasantly surprised by all your wonderful support of mowing. And thanks for the great comments, encouragement, and good ideas on creating that new garden bed.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Kim said...

Carol, I've never tried to get rid of that much lawn at once, but a gardening friend did. If you have the fall and winter, you can do what she did - she covered the part she wanted to be bed with cardboard. Then she heaped leaves on the cardboard. By spring, she had a great place to plant with not too much working of the soil. Disclaimer - she lives in Oregon. I don't know if this will work for you, but it might. Good luck - I know the final result will be spectacular.

Anonymous said...

I may be the only one, but I vote to let the beautiful, green grass grow...don't kill it! You can clutter a yard with too many beds! Besides when you get done, you won't have any beloved mowing left to do!

Debbie said...

Carol, lovely lawn. We (myself, hubby and 15yodd) do not mind mowing. We have two area of lawn, the garden lawn and the kid area. We always mow the garden lawn with the push mower as it has a catcher and I like it to look tidy. We used to mow the larger kid are with a rider, but this year, we seem to be embracing mowing and have been doing that area with the push mower also.

As far as the new garden goes...what a wonderful blank palette you will have! I love fences as backdrops. My hubby usually does all the bull work for me (what a sweetie) and he desods it all with what he calls the "persauder"...a flat pick type thing (not sure of the technical name). I can't wait to see what you do with this area. How fun to plan.

The Mindful Gardener said...

Lawn=bad, garden beds=good. From an environmental standpoint, the input a lawn requires doesn't justify its use in my book. If it were me, I'd make a long curved bed and include those small trees. Round-up would be the easiest way to do it if you're in a hurry, and fortunately it has a short half-life and doesn't linger in the soil after applying. It might be worth it to have a landscape design service come and kill the grass and cut the new bedline by hand---depending on the square footage, should cost a few hundred at most---well worth it. Then you don't have to remove the grass, you just "pocket plant" right into it and mulch over the top. Jeez I wish I had that kind of space here in WI.

susan harris said...

Wow, that's a heckuva lot of mowing, lady! Esp to someone - like ME - without a lawn anymore - yay!!! Don't miss it a bit, esp the part where I had to carry the mower down some stairs - yeah, carry - or struggling with it up and down my hillside - not fun. I did love about mowing the instant results and the smell of cut grass.