Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Garden Designers Round Table: Lawns

Lawn should have sections, arriving at, and touching, your home.
 Lawn around your home should be cut lower-tidier, above, than lawn further away, below.
 The best lawns are not monoculture, perhaps they are great for sports, they are Tara Turf.  A mix of grasses, bulbs, herbs, and what the wind  blows in.
 Tara Turf, above, in the cracks of a formal flagstone terrace.  Well, formal when the Tara Turf is 'dormant'.
 Low Tara Turf, above, enhancing the view and a place to play, sit, picnic.
 Spotty Tara Turf, above, a century old home with owners over 70 years old.  Easy to take care of, no fertilizer, no chemicals.
 What began as a design statement, above, enhances pollinator habitat.  And greater change thru the seasons.
 Lawn, above, a harbinger of spring.  And the owners.
 Lawn, above, until I realized the maintenance required.  Now, flowering shrubs.
 Lawn to the house, and it feels good.  Zero foundation plantings.  Lush planting in pots.
 Charming vignette, above?  Yes, AND, helping to pollinate fruit trees, vegetables.  Did you know 80% of pollination is from wild sources?
 At Sissinghurst, above, formal lines are mown into Tara Turf.  Tall lawn under fruit trees?  Increases yields 80%.
Tara Turf doesn't need watering, it enhances landscape design.  A detail within simplicity.
One of my clients has a large potager, flowers/herbs/vegetables, her potager caretaker tried to talk her out of hiring my services.  She didn't need ornamental flowering plants coming into bloom every 2 weeks all year, she needed only plants feeding wildlife or people.
We all learned something, BIG.  Her potager is outproducing any that he has created in his career.  Instead of getting 1-2 bloom cycles on her vegetables she's getting 3-4 bloom cycles.  Her yields are 100% higher, in many instances, than what he is familiar with.
Why?  She created a landscape with something new coming into bloom every 2 weeks.  Birds, insects are in great activity everyday.  She has a mix of hi-density plantings with shrubberies/flowering trees and low-density areas with Tara Turf.
Tara Turf is part of the equation for maximum pollinator habitat.  Beauty, low-maintenance, no expense for water, chemicals, fertilizer.
Garden & Be Well,             XO Tara
.This month on Garden Designers Roundtable, We’re talking ‘Lawn Alternatives’, and we’re very excited to have the Lawn Reform Coalition joining us for a blogging extravaganza! The Lawn Reform Coalition is Thirteen gardening and environmental advocates from across the U.S. promoting change in the American lawn, a loose coalition of writers and activists (including lawn-haters and lawn-improvers) pooling knowledge of up-to-date solutions to the many problems caused by a lawn culture that demands perfection, conformity, and the overuse of water, fertilizer and pesticides. To learn more about the Coalition, and to join in the revolution, visit www.LawnReform.org.
We’ll be joined this month by the following Lawn Reform Coalition members:
Susan Harris
Susan Harris – Coalition instigator and head wrangler, Susan is a garden writer and blogger who promotes lawn alternatives and organic lawn care.  Online she blogs for independent garden centers, publishes a website about Sustainable-Gardening, and co-founded the national team blog GardenRant.com. Susan also co-founded the DC Urban Gardeners and Green the Grounds.org, a campaign encouraging First Families to landscape their official residences sustainably. Her individual blog Gardener Susan’s Boomer Blog, goes radically off-topic to answer the question: What Turns Boomers On?  Susan gardens and teaches gardening in the Washington, D.C. area.
Billy Goodnick
Billy Goodnick – Billy is a landscape architect based in Santa Barbara, CA, specializing in designing public and residential landscapes. His freelance writing and his Cool Green Gardens blog at Fine Gardening Magazine instruct and encourage readers to adopt a more sustainable approach in their landscapes. Billy also co-hosts an educational and humorous regional television show,Garden Wise Guys, that emphasizes water conservation and lawn alternatives.
Evelyn Hadden
Evelyn Hadden – Evelyn has been writing about nature-friendly, chemical-free, do-it-yourself, low-maintenance landscaping since 2001, when she founded the informational website LessLawn.com.  She gardens in Minnesota and travels across the country speaking to other gardeners about ecological gardening, lawn alternatives, and ideas for shrinking your lawn.  Her most recent book, Shrink Your Lawn: Design ideas for any landscape, won a silver medal in the Independent Publisher’s 2009 Living Now Book Awards for promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Evelyn works with the Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate to find and share ways to build a restorative human culture.
Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt – Saxon is a professional garden photographer whose images are well recognized in hundreds of magazine and book credits. In his work he seeks to change the aesthetic of what we expect to see in a garden photograph so that the media portrays authentic and sustainable gardens. ”The American Meadow Garden” and his two most previous books, Hardy Succulents, and Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates, were all awarded prizes by the Garden Writers of America as “outstanding books”. He owns the stock photography library PhotoBotanic and blogs regularly atGardening Gone Wild.
Ginny Stibolt
Ginny Stibolt - Ginny is the “Transplanted Gardener” from Maryland, where she received her MS degree in botany, to NE Florida.  Her column for Jacksonville’s Florida Times Union is posted on her website and onFloridata.com, Many of her columns have been republished in Master Gardener newsletters and elsewhere, and she also writes for Vero Beach Magazine.  She’s the author of Sustainable Gardening for Florida, published by the University Press of Florida.
Of note, two of our own members here at Garden Designers Roundtable are also Lawn Reform Coalition Members. Susan Morrison and Shirley Bovshow will also be posting today.
Garden Designers Roundtable is also very excited to announce in conjunction with this month’s topic, that one of our own, Pam Penick, has a new book coming out in February of 2013 entitled “The Alternative Lawn”, to be published by Ten Speed Press. Look for more information here and on Pam’s blog Diggingas we get closer to the publishing date. Congratulations Pam!
Now without further ado, may we present to you our readers, ‘Lawn Alternatives’! Just click on the links below and Enjoy!
(and no, you’re not seeing double, Susan Harris has contributed two posts!)
Several pics I took, some I've lost the resource, some are from Paul Gervais.


Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

Hi Tara,
What is "Tara Turf?"

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Tara, your concept seems ideally suited to your climate and region. I love the contrast of crisp and rough that you've presented so eloquently!

Anonymous said...

Tara, this idea (that you call Tara Turf) is an old and excellent idea. We called it 'Laisser-Vert', roughly translated..."If it's green..let it."