Oakham

Ever at the front of new ideas and ways of doing things, Oakham School, Rutland, in conjuction with a well known garden designer, has under the watchful eye of grounds manager Richard Dexter developed its own four part tapestry lawn as part of a major redesign of the central school quad.

I know that Richard was both very enthusiastic and understandably professionally cautious. Tapestry lawns are a very new direction for lawn horticulture and like most new things, they can take a bit of getting used to. Although apparently the school science staff took to it immediately. Yay for science!!! Hortiscience rules!!! Ahem, back in the room.

It is inevitably a major investment by the school and has to be both aesthetically intriguing and attractive, educationally useful and stand up to pupils short cutting across the quad.

I’m totally delighted to learn from Richard today,  and I quote: ” the lawn is getting better and better all the time and I can’t believe how little work it really needs.”

He has kindly allowed me to share a couple of images of the school’s four part lawn.

Oakham School Quad

Oakham School Quad

Quad 2

I can’t help thinking that there isn’t another school quad anywhere else in the world quite like this one!!

 

New front garden lawn

I had the delight of receiving a message from a tapestry lawn enthusiast who had taken it upon herself to transform her small front lawn.

Kara I salute you! It is quite a lovely transformation. The first self-made small front garden tapestry lawn that I know of.

She has graciously allowed me to post a few images to show how she did it.

The previous lawn.

Gets the spade treatment

All ready…

Time for a spot of growing…

A spot of planting….

And after a bit of patient waiting….

and lo, it came to pass, a lovely new T lawn. Yay!!!

I am utterly, utterly delighted. Well executed Kara!

A new lawn emerges…

It’s been a while since I added an update to my Reading Blog and many things have changed. Not least that I have morphed into Dr Lionel Smith, Lecturer in Horticulture – at Myerscough College in Lancashire (Shhh – don’t tell Reading I’m still blogging). A new circular Tapestry Lawn is due to appear at Myerscough this coming May.

The location for the Myerscough Tapestry lawn - with degree students Joel and Chris removing the columnar yew.

The location for the Myerscough Tapestry lawn – with degree students Joel and Chris removing the columnar yew.

To my delight it’s a student led project. Students have already moved a columnar yew tree and prepared the ground with some vigorous weeding and digging. The old Research & Development Glasshouse at Myerscough Plant World is now full of trays and pots of Tapestry Lawn plants. It’s quite exciting!

Easily as exciting has been the community tapestry lawn project for Dorchester’s old bowling green in the centre of town in Borough Gardens.

Supported by the current Mayor Peter Mann (Happy Mayor), a group that included prime mover Joy Wallis – Community Conservation Officer of the Dorset Wildlife Trust and esteemed councillors came for a visit to Reading last year. We wandered the campus – with brave individuals taking the plunge and tentatively walking on the tapestry lawns that have been grown and cultivated entirely by the university grounds staff and visiting the recently moved experimental lawns.

Inspired by what they saw (a common comment was – you have to see a tapestry lawn to fully appreciate it, rather like the presenters on one of those jewellery channels tell you about a gemstone) and stymied by the lack of an immediate commercial format, a plan for a community grown lawn was hatched.

With support from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, Dorset Council, The Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Garden Group, not to mention local schools, colleges, garden centres and gardeners, the job of filling over 1500 trays of plants was undertaken Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Community Supporters of the Dorchester tapestry lawn

Community Supporters of the Dorchester tapestry lawn

On Easter Monday (April 6th) the grand lawn laying took place, with music, refreshments, stalls and the most glorious sunshine. The lawn layout follows an original design produced by a student from a local college that includes pathways through the lawn.

Prepared location

Prepared location

Alas, some of the trays had yet to put forth their precious plant cargo – and with the common sense of gardeners they will be part of a phase two planting when the trays are ready for planting.

The prepared ground and a mixture of ready and not so ready trays

The prepared ground and a mixture of ready and not so ready trays

 

Plenty of the trays were plant laden, and in a constant stream that occurred all morning and afternoon, people of all ages continued to bring their contributory trays to the gardens for planting..

Bit by bit the lawn took shape. First a few bulbs were planted and then bit by bit (and following the plan marked out on the soil, the lawn was laid.

Planting started

Planting started

I stayed for as long as I was able, buoyed up by the energy and enthusiasm that was a feature of the day. At one stage there was a dinosaur invasion ….

Dinosaur on the lawn (it had scared off all the zombies)

Dinosaur on the lawn (it had scared off all the zombies)

I wish I could have stayed longer.

The lawn took shape…

Taking shape

Taking shape

Taking shape 2

Taking shape 2

And then I had to leave ( I wish I hadn’t, I might have avoided sitting in traffic jams on the M5 that were so extensive that I managed to read two chapters of a book…!)

Just before I left we had a visitor to the newly laid lawn:

Lawn magic

Lawn magic

A small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae L.) butterfly! It bodes well I think.