The winter before last caught me by surprise with the early onset of rain. The final cut of the lawn was postponed due to wet weather… and remained that way until spring finally decided to put in an appearance. Now, I love to see a meadow of long grass… the uncropped and slender spears are far more beautiful than a shorn expanse. The wildflowers and small creatures love it too…. but as a lawn, it is not entirely appealing.
The small dog loves to flollop through the long grass when we are out walking, but her lawn must be close-shaven. When forced to wade through grass of wild stature in search of her ball or a place for her morning necessities, she picks her way through the stuff as if she is walking on hot coals. And should it be wet as well, she glares at me, leaving me in no doubt at all that her misery is entirely my fault.
Having suffered one winter of her discontent, I was determined not to be caught napping twice. No more ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’… No. If the weather was half decent, the stuff was being cut.
It is all too easy to put things off, especially when you feel you have plenty of time to deal with them, but it takes so little to get in the way of that ‘plenty of time’…and suddenly you have a major problem. And not just where mowing the lawn is concerned.
Left untouched, the problem areas grow. Like grass that refuses to dry, they hold on to the cause of the problem, becoming self-perpetuating. Without attention, all sorts of beasties find the dank undergrowth and its shadows a perfect lurking ground. And, when you do decide the problem must be tackled, it is ten times harder to resolve than had it been done in the first place…
…which is why I pounced on the mower all autumn. Took the slightest opportunity all winter… and we survived the worst of it with grass of a reasonable length, in spite of the constant torrents of rain. The dog was still not happy, but she really can’t blame me for the puddles that formed in the waterlogged mudpatch where the lawn used to be.
With the advent of spring, I was on high alert, waiting for the briefest break in the soggy, wet weather. One bit of sunshine, even a dry and windy day… I didn’t care. The mower was poised and oiled, tested and adjusted so it would not scalp the sodden earth. On the first dry day, Ani hid under the desk and I cut to my heart’s content. Finally, we would start the spring with something that looked vaguely like a lawn!
I kept cutting for the next two weeks and the stuff was green, tidy… short! The squishy bits were drying out nicely. The dog was happy. Then came the weekend of the workshop where I had to be away. I squeezed in a final cut, confident that I would return to a green and glowing garden.
The trouble was… I did. There was a bit of a heatwave while I was away… which, coupled with the water held in the wet earth, had encouraged more growth and greening than I had bargained for. You would not think it had been cut since last summer. And it has continued to rain ever since I got back. So the grass just keeps on growing.
In fact, everything has kept on growing, and I look out through the falling rain on a lush paradise of waving fronds and wildflowers. Except, that is where my nice, short lawn is supposed to be. The wildflowers are growing where nothing should and may in all fairness, have to be relegated to being described as weeds. The only dry spells seem to coincide with the time I am out at work.
While it is undeniably better to tackle the job when it is small… be that mowing the lawn or clearing the dark recesses of the psyche, sometimes you just have to wait for the right moment to arrive. Outside, the rain is lashing against the windows again. The wind is howling and the sky ominously and stubbornly iron-clad.
But it is Beltane Eve and the May blossom is opening on the hawthorns at the bottom of the garden. Nature has decided that spring has sprung, whether or not the weather gods comply. All things happen in their own time, both in the garden and in the heart and mind of Man. Long or short, the grass will keep on growing… and so do we.