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The lawn remains the living remnant of the romantic English garden in America.
Though there is much talk today about reducing the size of the lawn or eliminating it altogether, Americans still spend $40 billion a year on lawn care.
The lawn is alive and well.
On Sunday the Boston Globe Magazine included an article called “7 Steps to a beautiful lawn”.
The contents of the article reminded me of what nineteenth century Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan (1826-1901) wrote in the March issue of his magazine Gardener’s Monthly in 1879: “There is nothing in the whole range of American gardening that is the subject of so much solicitude as the proper care of the lawn. ”
The Globe article listed the stops needed for a good lawn:
- test your soil
- add air
- get planting
- feed your lawn
- mow it right
- water but not too much
- control weeds and pests
That amounts to the same information that nineteenth century garden catalogs, books, and magazines told American gardeners. Instructions for planting a lawn have not changed much in two hundred years. Nonetheless, we enjoy reading it every spring.
Perhaps Meehan was right when he said: “Much as the lawn plays a part in English gardening, it is of much more account with us.”