Grass varieties and lawn advice

we have a lovely courtyard with a curly willow... sitting on a rather grim and scabby lawn... the willow was totally out of control and we've lopped it right back.

it seems the ideal time to re-do the lawn (i should say we moved to france and into this property in May last year) we'll rotavate and feed and leave it through the winter and re-sow something in spring...

we can water it as we have a well, and it's a small but very precious area where we and B&B guests spend a lot of time in the summer... it is obviously hot and shady!

i'd love your thoughts on grass varieties, or other suggestions?

thanks, teresa

Hi Teresa,

I am doing the same think in the Aude. I have just reseeded with a drought/shade tolerant seed and it's coming in very well. The problem I have is that we are not here in the summer but back in Canada where I tend my 2 hectares of perennials. So either someone has to water daily ($) or my lawn goes to pot (I wish). Anyway, I'm of the true opinion that lawns are a waste of money and a scattering of poppies that will go to seed and reappear each year is more appropriate and "bio" in France. Happy Gardening, Mary

yes, thank you john - very droll (sp?) a meadow would indeed be better than the moss and mud patch we have now - i should LOVE to have a camomile lawn and once i win the lotto i will - about 100 euro for a sq meter?

yep. 'meadow' it will be

To be honest in 20 years i have only seen one lush English lawn as you may call it down here, the guy had turf brought in from somewhere, he was Dutch and retired his lawn was the love of his life and spent hours feeding, wedding and watering, no trees either, i had the same problem in the uk trees that killed the lawn i had a Chamomile lawn at one point in the garden but again likes sun light shade and doesnt take kindly to heavy traffic i this Richard has made the right choice you would have a well mown tidy meadow

thanks Richard - that's great advice - i'll go to brico and gamm vert with some thoughts now - yes we do have an open wood fire - and i'll speread some on... i know we won't have a 'quick' lawn! i'd just like to put in a bit of effort ans see what we can do...

i'm not suck on grass though - no-one walks on it, tis purely for looking at - and even our dog doesn't walk or anything else on it - when he was a pup we made a new square lawn at our house in sussex almost the same size as this one - and he spent the first year of his life learnig how to walk round the edge!

My suggestion would be to sow a strong growing perenial grass seed, such as farmers use to harvest a silage crop, because looking at he photograph it looks to me as not only is yout tree denying sunshine ( photosynthesis ) to the existing grass, it is also taking what natural moisture, therefore ---food --- there is availible, your watering the grass is similar to you drinking water, it quenches your thirst but doesn't feed you.

If you were to buy the "municipal" grass seed, that which you see on golf courses municipal gardens etc, I think you might have a problem establishing them because in general they are far more delicate than the robust perenial grasses, and you tree would be too greedy for them.

Grass feed is based on N.P.K. ( basically nitrogen -phosphates and potash) I would suggest you buy a grass feed with higher contents of P. and K. that will feed the rooting system and not make the grass shoot up . In the winter, if you have an open fire, spread the ash all over the lawn, don,t worry, the rain will wash it in. Feed the grass on a fairly regular basis, not too much at a time thoughand then water afterwards until it is established.

No matter what you do though you will not have a carpet of green next spring, lawns take time to establish.

If you go to your to your garden centre and can't find what you want then go online and buy, if that fails, ask your relations to bring som over next time they come. ----hope this helps you.