- Author: Tami Reece
- Editor: Noni Todd
Transform Your Lawn
By Tami Reece UCCE Master Gardener
Where did lawns come from? Have they always been a part of the American landscape? Lawn's first appeared around the 1600's in Europe, which makes sense since the mild and damp climate of Europe kept the grass lush and green. During the 16th Century Renaissance, lawns were grown by the wealthy in both France and England but were likely planted with chamomile or thyme rather than actual grass-type plants.
Some of the earliest lawns were the grasslands around medieval castles. This kept the area clear so guards could see approaching friends or enemies. These grasses were kept short mostly with the use of farm animals which also added needed fertilizers. Through the ages and as emigrants migrated to North America, they brought their love of green open spaces in and around their homes. While this may work in the eastern to southern states, where year-round moisture is typical, it does not work as well in the Mediterranean climate of California with our mild winters and warm dry summers. And with changing weather patterns, it may not continue to work in our eastern states either.
If you would like to exchange your thirsty lawn with a more drought tolerant option, perhaps chamomile or thyme, to have a landscape reminiscent of early Europe, join UC Master Gardeners on Saturday, September 16th, 2023, at 10:00 to 12:00 p.m. at the Garden of the Seven Sisters Demonstration Garden at 2154 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Methods of lawn removal will be discussed including sheet composting and lasagna gardening, which is a no-dig gardening technique that attempts to mimic the natural soil-building process. We'll also discuss solarization, physical removal of grass and herbicides. You will learn about sustainable ground covers and grasses that require little water or mowing and are amenable to foot traffic. Several samples of lawn alternatives will be available for viewing. Both chamomile and thyme are growing in our Lawn Alternative Plots at the Centennial Demonstration Garden and Garden of the Seven Sisters.
If you want your water bill to go down, the beauty of your landscape to go up, and more time sitting on the porch drinking lemonade rather than mowing, please join us this Saturday, September 16th. The workshop is free and open to the public. Be prepared for warm weather and bring a hat and water. Docents will be available after the workshop until 1:00 pm. If inclement weather, the workshop will be canceled.
Advice to Grow By Workshops
Our next Advice to Grow By Workshop will be October 21st, 2023, at 10:00 to 12:00 p.m. in our Garden of the Seven Sisters Demonstration Garden at 2154 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. The topic will be “Vertical Vegetable Gardening.” The workshop is free and open to the public. Docents will be available after the workshop until 1:00 pm. If inclement weather, the workshop will be canceled.
You can view workshops on Instagram live at slo mg or visit our You Tube channel at “San Luis Obispo County UC Master Gardeners.”
UCCE Master Gardener Helpline offices:
San Luis Obispo: 805-781-5939 (Monday and Thursday 1:00 to 5:00)
Arroyo Grande: 805-473-7190 (Wednesday 10:00 to 12:00)
Templeton: 805-434-4105 (Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00)