Myerscough Magic

I’ve been most neglectful of this blog, I shall blame it on being distracted and do my best to catch up on correspondence now I have a bit of holiday time.

The Myerscough T lawn

The Myerscough T lawn

The T lawn at Myerscough College has almost fully filled its honoured spot in the middle of the kitchen garden and has had its first mowing courtesy of our resident gardener Sam. I am always interested to see how someone responds to taking a mower to a flowering T lawn and Sam it seems is a natural. Without hesitation and with only one tweak on the height of the mower he boldly took the blade to the lawn – and did a fine job.

I thought I’d show the T lawn prior to being shorn of flowers!

Myerscough T lawn close-up

Myerscough T lawn close-up

I was charmed by the first blue bells of Campanula rotundifolia. Alas, they were removed by the mower. Not to worry though, they’ll be back – although I’m not sure when that might be, they seem to grow a bit slower here in Lancashire than they did in Berkshire and I suspect a second flush might not happen. It is inevitable that T lawns will be products of their environment. I have noticed it does seem to be a bit cooler and somewhat wetter here in Lancashire than in the south of England.

Myerscough t lawn close-up 2

Myerscough t lawn close-up 2

The blue flowers in this image come from a type of Lobelia erinus, the hanging basket type I suspect. The central circle of the kitchen garden where the T lawn is, has been used for many different planting schemes in the past. A result of that and the planting format used for this particular lawn, has been that plants from previous uses have been popping up all over the place. The mower was able to deal with any of the taller plants  – we had quite a lot of sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) and borage (Borago officinalis)!

I noted previously that in the experimental lawns at Reading that basket lobelia would also sometimes pop up (goodness knows where from). It is an annual that seems to do surprisingly well. I haven’t considered annuals much due to the perennial nature of lawns, perhaps I should.

 

4 thoughts on “Myerscough Magic

  1. Hi Dr. Smith,

    I am very interested and impressed by your ideas and publications. I seem to remember you saying that a roll-out lawn would not be suitable for this type of mix.

    Recently, I came across a company that claims to provide a roll-out turf that is grass-free – see “Flora-LoGro” at the bottom of http://www.tillersturf.co.uk/wildflower-turf-for-landscapes .
    They seem to make use of some of your ideas, and I’m not sure if they’re inspired, trying to jump on a trend, or trying to rip you off.

    I am tempted to try it out for our small 16m2 garden. Does their product seem sensible to you? And if you have any upcoming product of your own, I’d happily wait until it’s ready – it would be great to be able to support the original researcher!

    Best regards,
    Gustaf

    • Hi Gustaf,
      Wildflower turf is a bit different from the T-lawn format. The plants used tend to be more meadow type rather than lawn type, and the management via a biannual mowing is typical of a meadow. Essentially they are two different approaches with different outcomes. If you want a T-lawn, this isn’t it.
      A roll out T-lawn is certainly someway off yet – if it should ever appear! The lift and roll technique that suits grass lawns is yet to translate well to the T lawn format.
      I still have the aim of making this commercially available. It is taking much longer than anticipated.

  2. My wife and I have bought an a one acre field adjoining our garden and would like to incorporate some of your ideas instead of or perhaps along with sowing part as a wild flower meadow.
    We are in West Sussex on well drained stoney loam, clayish soil.
    The field was always used for wheat production and has just been harvested for the last time.
    Any advice appreciated. Also we would like to visit your trial garden planting sites if possible.
    Many thanks
    Mark and Angela.

    • Greetings Mark. Tapestry lawns do well on low to medium nutrient soils. Inevitably the plants will self select and self organise themselves after planting in reponse to the usual environmental influences – light, temperature & moisture, and to some degree the composition, pH and structure of soil substrate they grow on. The kind that are likely to be successful will be evident within the local area. Since many suitable species are native to the UK and tolerant of a wide range of conditions it is usually not problematic to find plants that can be used.
      I am currently based at Myerscough College outside Preston. We have a T lawn there, you are welcome to look at/walk on. The previous trial lawns at Reading have now all been transferred from the trial grounds and incorporated into a pollinator friendly T lawn that abutts the university bee hives within the Harris Garden walled garden. You would have to seek permission from the university to visit as that particular part of the garden does not have open public access. There are two other T lawns on the campus. Avondale park is a public park as is the bowling green in Dorchester. Other T lawns are likely to require permissions as they are either private or on school grounds.

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