picture perfect lawns…?

The grass title maybe misleading. Need advice? [click here]. I may have constructed unusual lawns, [topographically] but never seen anything like this. Thanks to Will who got it from brandflakesforbreakfast who got it from this guy.

lawns wimbledon different peter donegan

Lawn care enthusiasts take note — it’ll take more than a riding mower and a thrice-daily waterings (for shame) to outshine artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey this summer.

The pair have perfected their talent for manipulating the light sensitivity of ordinary grass. Black and white negatives are projected onto the grass, 12 hours per day, for over a week as the grass grows in a dark room. Different blades get different exposure and the results are photographs, like the recent Wimbledon portraits shown above.

Find more of their grassy experiments at this gallery at Arts Admin.

fertilising lawns…


Yesterday and today saw a battered lawn take a spoon full of sugar. Oh yes! Caculated green back to perfection time is 4 weeks.

The days of the old 10:10:20 fertliser have passed however – For the times they are a changin’ – I’m not saying they’re defunct just passed – for me. In horticulture, the science of, where time management is concerned – is so important whilst inceasing quality – in this case this is a revelation [that’s been here for a while].

I’ve used a slow release fertiliser [like osmocote but for lawns]. Briefly, its’s like an M&M sweet[?!] – the outer coat contains the feed within – if the plant [grass in this case] grows at 12-14 celcius then the feed releases – when temperatures go below that – it stops… put simply.


The ‘old way’ meant if it rained the fertiliser may be leeched through the soil and therefore had little or no effect. I’ve used Scotts Sierrablen range 14:5:21 + 2MgO which slowly releases feed over a 4-5 month range. This is where intelligence saves money. The feed does cost a little extra but the time saved and moreso only having to treat it once per growing season-ish is partly why.

The spreader [modelled by my good buddy Adam] is really cool. This one has a handle on one side [left as you look] which if pulled prevents it from going to that side. The importance here is that the fertiliser for the lawn is not that which would suit a fruit tree. Hence the name – edgeguard!

The pull handle in the middle means it doesn’t release feed unless you want to… little or no waste.

The green ‘bit’ between the handle and the holder sets the rate of output. A genius invention and so simplistic.

God – if I was getting paid for product placement I’d be worth a fortune… but, the truth is, as much as the people of Memphis believe that Elvis is The King of Rock and Roll – the reality is, there is not much competition to disprove or disagree. The people of Scotts have a really good product. It’s not that I prefer it. It is simply a good product.

If you are spreading – reduce the rate by half. Push in straight lines up and down – and then – go across left to right – normal output rates still apply. Application rates do vary but it’s recommended at 25-40gramms per metre squared. If you’re unsure do a trial run first [I insist!!] or you’l end up with variance in the lushness of your greens. Enjoy!

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the green green grass of home… ?

peter donegan landscaping ltd lawns

Almost the simplest thing to do horticulturally is to sow a lawn… ? If you sowed a lawn with seed anything up to two months ago it may look like this. [Sparky my dog is in there just to give some perception of size].

One may take your lawn problem solver book and put a match to it. Books tend to base what should happen month by month style on a mean [average] temperature. What it doesn’t say & cannot predict is last June would be one of the wettest in Irelands history and this June would be one of the warmest on record! Same rules still apply? Not possible.

problem lawn solve seed germination

Back to the lawn; If you have a back garden or in my case around an acre, the hose isn’t really logic. I tend not to recommend it anyway because of varient pressure, people ‘jamming’ their thumb in the top of the hose [causing seed dispersal and baldness] and because ‘how much water is enough? is about as logic as how much will a car cost…

Too your semi existing lawn; Maybe you predicted the timing of the acttual works wrong? Not really based on last June. So what is it? Why wont the seed germinate in your lawn?

The basic reason for any plant to start to grow is to reproduce. Simple. It has a life cycle that must complete. [From seed to plant – into flower – and return to seed]. Thats its job! anything else is a bi product.

In this weather would you let a child outside without a factor sunscreen on? [Answer should be no I assume ps I don’t have kids]. A seed has one shot in life, it will decide itself if its the right time to make its move. Its got a tiny store of food to get its head just peeped out & then hope luck is onside. Its one chance at life… then it  wakes up in Ireland and hits 35% relative humidity, 20/5 degree celcius & sahara like soil… seeds are just not that stupid.

grass seed will grow just about anywhere peter donegan

The problem as to why your seed wont germinat; You think it may be the soil? My answer; This is the ‘boreen’ [old irish road] I sowed seed into at the same time as my back lawn pictured above. Poor soil an excuse. NO chance. The soil isn’t great, sure but it is more fertile than stone? So why not grow in soil.

The fact that the boreen is North facing and in almost constant shade does help – a lot.

I’m going to cut straight to the soultion to everyones lawn ‘starting to grown problem’. Wait for Mother Nature to turn down the heating slightly and hope she turns on the water soon. Problem solved. To be honest I could write a book just on this subject – many people have! For you this will keep you sane for the moment as to if you have got it wrong somewhere or not.

Any questions just click the comment part below. Please remember it is a garden, its not a concrete block and just beacause you want it to happen, horticulturally, the seed [or plant] may not want to, in this case, just yet. In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine and your garden.