Tenderblog with Alex Dingwall-Main - June 2017 (part 2)

The Art of Mowing​

To those who find trundling up and down behind a mower a boring chore that just has to be done, it is unlikely you will be thinking much about creative mowing. Even if your machine has a seat and gearbox it won't enhance your artistry much.

Certainly there is a degree of satisfaction that comes from producing the straight stripes of a well mown lawn;

or even adjusting the blades to cut paths through longer grass.

However if you happen to be one of us gardeners that gets a buzz from being a bit creative with our machinery, you know,  by introducing a few curves for example;


or playing at making tartan patterns...


...then let me tell you this is nothing. We are mere kids playing in the grown ups back yard. If we compare ourselves to the giants of serious grass growing, the artists of the turf, the Rembrandt's of the greensward then get a load of this...



But why limit yourself to the front lawn?



It's an ephemeral thing so perhaps you should be happy to settle for something more straight forward-ish.



Maybe even invite a few homeless Buxus balls to join in the party if the soldiers don't mind.



Talking 'ephemeral' in relationship to grass or lawns you ought to meet Chris Parsons if you haven't already. He calls himself a 'Groundsman' which is a beautifully understated conceit. Chris makes beautiful patterns on close cropped lawns at dawn. He uses a large rag brush which he meticulously draws over over the grass telling us that " Dew looks its best in the sun because it glitters."

Chris spends about three to five hours being creative then climbs up a nearby tree to photograph his work before it gently evaporates as the sun warms up.



But for now it's time bung the old mower in the shed, put the feet up and relax for a while.




ALEX DINGWALL-MAIN has been a professional garden designer, and garden writer for nearly forty years; twenty in the UK and just about as many in Provence in the South of France. He spent a year creating a gardening series for The Sunday Times Magazine, has written three garden ‘travelogue’ books for Random House, including The Sunday Times bestseller ‘The Luberon Garden’ and was awarded The Garden Travelogue Book of The Year for ‘The Angel Tree’. He has contributed articles to various magazines including Vogue, Harper’s, House & Garden, Architectural Digest and Gardens Illustrated. He has also made twenty five gardening films for the BBC and recorded programmes for BBC Radio 4 and LBC, France Bleu and Radio Monte Carlo. Alex has designed gardens from the West Indies to West Sussex, from America to Amman and from Europe to Yorkshire, exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show, judged for the RHS at Hampton Court, taught at the Inchbald School of Garden Design and recently produced the first Chelsea Arts Club Garden Show. Join Alex on one of his lively, entertaining and informative garden workshops.