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Plant Types : Lawn and Meadow

Grass takes up the largest part of most gardens, covering the soil and leaving the space available for a variety of leisure purposes. But a lawn has a major decorative role too. A well-laid and well-maintained lawn is an ornamental feature in itself and it is a very fine foil for trees, shrubs and flowers in surrounding beds and borders.

Fertiliser and lawn weedkiller are used to encourage vigorous grass growth in a fine lawn. Regular mowing achieves the smooth surface that is such an important aspect of the ornamental value of a lawn.

The shape of lawn can be very important. A lawn with straight edges or geometric curves gives the garden a formal appearance, while a lawn with sweeping gentle curves is more informal and decorative in a different way.

Where a more natural appearance is required, a wild flower lawn, or wildflower meadow can be grown. A wild flower lawn is one where the broad-leaved lawn ‘weeds’ are not killed with weedkiller but encouraged by little or no feeding, just an application every two or three years of high potash/low nitrogen fertiliser. Mowing is not carried out as frequently, giving the wild flowers time to flower between mowings.

Best suited to large gardens, wildflower meadow is not mown at all until July and then just three or four times more; no fertiliser or lawn weedkiller is used. The first heavy mowing requires a rough grass mower or sickle bar mower, which can be hired.

With a flowering meadow, the aim is to reduce the vigour of grass growth and encourage wildflowers such as cowslips, clovers, birdsfoot trefoil, poppies, and oxeye daisies on dry soil; self-heal, bugle, cuckoo flower, buttercup and hawkbit on damp soil.

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