Daily Life

Mean and Green

Getting greener again

After a few months of being jealous of my neighbors for enabling their lawns to evade the effects of the blistering hot summer, I woke this morning to find myself transforming from being green with envy to being verdant with chlorophyll!

Kangaeroo Corner’s lawn, which started May in a generally strong state albeit being slightly patchy, took a drastic turn for the worst in early June.

Fingers crossed

At what should have been the onset of the rainy season, I made the mistake of heavily fertilizing the warn to boost its strength for what I expected would be a hot and wet period ahead.

I was only half right: we got the heat, but not the precipitation.

Seeds starting to germinate, but still pretty patchy

I gave the lawn too much of a boost and the sweltering summer left it with a case of fertilizer burn.

Our lovely patch of vermillion turned into a strip of ugly brown muck.

Tree fern reviving after a tough summer

And nothing I did would change it.

Bolstered by knowledge gleaned from watching dozens of YouTube videos from lawn experts (in totally different climates), books, advice from friends, powerful seeds, sprinklers, watering, not watering, lawn boosting formulas, fertilizers and more. Nothing worked.

The dwarf wattle was a pleasant and unexpected success

I was ready to give up, particularly as our kangaroo paws had thrived in the heat and looked ready for a shift to being planted rather than being raised in pots. Other plants had also done well, the hardenbergia, jacaranda and dwarf wattle being the notable successes. I was keen on planting these and giving up on the onerous and, well, fruitless, endeavors of the lawn.

But Mrs. Kangaeroo insisted we keep trying. I pledged to do so until the end of September, by which time I vowed to replace the lawn space with plants.

Kangaroo paws have, delightfully, been one of the success stories of this summer in Kangaeroo Corner

That deadline arrived and there was not much sign of grass growing. Ironically, the neighbors on both sides who had praised me at various times for the flourishing lawn at Kangaeroo Corner had healthy patches of lawn while we struggled.

I’ve had difficulties coping over the past couple of years and my always fragile self-esteem has been particularly vulnerable. The thriving garden, including the lawn, had been a confidence booster. The withered lawn, then, was having too much of an effect on my well-being. Not good, but the reality.

The jacaranda feared fallen in May is now towering over the neighborhood

Entering October, I decided to give the lawn one last chance. I tilled the ground, applied a layer of seed, scarifying, added topsoil, pounded the seeds intro the earth, spread fertilizer and then religiously watered the seeds to keep them moist, praying all the time that they would finally root an spread. Not much happened.

Then, late Sunday afternoon, it started spitting just as forecast. As always, I retired early, noticing that rain was falling steadily. It would keep falling throughout the whole day on Monday, and the garden was so bereft of crucial watering I was glad to see a national holiday go to waste.

The hardenbergia is growing wonderfully and raising hopes of a purple bounty next spring

When I woke this morning, I was delighted to see the lawn looking greener than it has in months.

Growth is still highly patchy and there are areas that will need more work.

But it was a lovely sign of hope when I am otherwise feeling down and struggling.