Last year was not a good one for me or for the garden. For most of the year I was plagued by severe migraine headaches on an almost daily basis. They greatly cut back on the amount of time I had to tend to the garden and the result was pretty much as you’d expect. The long dry summer and the suddenly wet fall didn’t help at all in terms of the roses. The lawn, in particular, suffered as an unbelievable crop of wild strawberry suddenly turned up and started taking it over in a multitude of places. By the time that I noticed it, it was all over the place. The usual herbicide of choice, Weed-B-Gone, didn’t seem to control it until they brought out a new formulation late in the year. By then, I had resorted to Roundup to kill it off, so the lawn wasn’t looking good at all as the year ended and the first snows of winter arrived. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at such things) a restructuring at the company where I worked for the last 25 years resulted in my position being eliminated with the result that I “got retired.” Very surprisingly to me, from that day to this, I have yet to have another headache of any kind, let alone a migraine. They’re right, you know — stress kills. So, I should be able to devote more time to the garden this year.
This spring, I had the landscaper thatch the lawn which left it looking even more ratty than at the end of last year. Both he and I noted that, over the decade or so since I had the house built, the garden has settled somewhat unevenly. And, good old Jersey red clay isn’t the greatest medium for growing a good lawn. So …. Ten cubic yards of good topsoil later the garden is once again graded as it should be and, with many bags of Scott’s perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass (and some creeping red fescue for the shady areas) along with twice daily waterings, there is once more a full lush green lawn to serve as a backdrop for all of the many plants in the garden. It’s amazing what a difference it makes!