My latest gardening craze is the lawn. We have what one might call a fairly poor lawn – small, shaded, low, clay, compacted, worn, weedy: the works – so of course you would expect me to immerse myself in futile attempts to improve it.
Despite suffering from back problems again, I was out in the occasional drizzle today: aerating with a fork; wiggling out dandelion taproots with a screwdriver; and turning over entire clods of earth with a spade, to bury a buttercup infestation. Like that ever gets rid of buttercups. As I say, futile.
But how enjoyable nonetheless! To be out in the elements, but close enough to the house in case it turns genuinely nasty. To luxuriate in that dry hour, in which I actually managed to mow our weird, half-thatchy, half-bald ing carpet. To revel in the muddiness of the digging, as I ended my time outside with half-moon edger in hand, setting in motion my latest plan: all along one side of the lawn is now dug an inch-wide trench, between lawn and path; this edge will hopefully prefigure a gradual raising of the lawn a good centimetre or two above the concrete, over the next year.
With all my notions coming from a broadly organic background, and without the free time that a retiree might have to spend on their precious green baby, I know I will never have the perfect bowling green. But at least I might – just about – leave it better than when we inherited it. Burnt brown by dog wee, as it was nearly five years ago, it could scarcely end up worse.
Next time I expect to be distracted by my hobbies, though, I might keep the cat in beforehand, so as to reduce the cleaning-up required afterwards. One will always underestimate the distance over which mud on a cat’s paws remains wet.