Fifty Shades of Lawn

“New Lawn” on Croquet Court

Thank goodness for the bright spots of color around the edges of our lawn.  Though, truth to tell, I’m not really sure I can legitimately dignify the expanse of weeds and grass and bare spots that surround our house with the name “lawn” but…   What else to call it?  It’s where the lawn is supposed to be.  Hell, it’s where the lawn used to be!  Ten thousand square feet of it!

Once upon a time, it was my Uncle Willard’s pride and joy.  Not all of the lawn, mind you.  Just the part that he called “the croquet court.”  It had once been my grandfather’s garden; then a weed patch; and then Willard got the idea to have a lawn planted for a croquet court.  For years — at least ten — he would come “home” from New York every summer and would walk the croquet court each evening, martini in hand.  Admiring.  Dreaming perhaps of the croquet games he would one day play.

Willard at Croquet Gala, 1994

He never did, though.  Instead, he dressed in his snappy white linen suit and served as Master of Ceremonies for most of the nineteen Annual Oysterville Croquet and Champagne Galas that Nyel and I put on as fundraisers from 1985 through 2004.  Right on Willard’s “croquet court!”

Last summer, the erstwhile croquet court had to be sacrificed for the dreaded septic tank project.  An outfit who had been doing a super job trimming and shaping the plantings around our place said that they could replace the lawn.  One of their specialities, they said.  We choked a bit at the estimate but felt Willard looking down anxiously from above and made the committment.  Big mistake.

West Flower Bed – July 2019

The lawn came in in patches and tufts.  The planting gurus re-seeded.  And sent another bill.  Twice.  And still it looked like it had been attacked by Agent Orange.  We said, “Never mind.  We’ll take it from here.”  And then, of course, the left-leg-gods  began to have their way with Farmer Nyel and … well, you know.

When my friend Susan was here a few weeks ago, she gave the entire ten thousand square feet an application of lime.  This past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I did the ammonium-sulfate-and-water-as-you-go trick hoping that the brown and yellow areas will green up.  Today I’m going to hit the bare spots with grass seed and topsoil.  Then we’ll see…  I have NO idea what to do with the large patches of weird dark green  grass along the north side of the croquet court.  I’m trying to think of our “lawn” as a quilt in progress.

By The South Porch – July 2019

Meanwhile, the chickens are devastated that they can’t help.  In the interest of health — theirs and the lawn’s — they are confined to quarters for a while.  I’ve told them, “Maybe by the end of the month…”

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