COLUMN: Lawn maintenance a serious chore

All of the rain this June has not only forced me to spend more time inside than I would like, but it has also had major impacts on my lawn.

All of the rain this June has not only forced me to spend more time inside than I would like, but it has also had major impacts on my lawn.

My husband and I moved from a townhouse to a house last winter.

While the move gave us a bit more space, much of it is in our backyard – something we didn’t really have at the townhouse – and instead of a strata council that pays someone to take care of outside spaces, we now have to do so ourselves.

This is the first time I’ve ever had to take care of a lawn.

When I lived with my mother, I wasn’t allowed to mow the grass because of my allergies – a walk through long grass can make me sick for more than a day.

At most other places I’ve lived, there hasn’t been a lawn to care for or as a renter, I wasn’t responsible for it.

But now we have a lawn.

What we do not have is a weed eater or gas-powered lawn mower – just a little push mower my husband borrowed from his mom. One hundred per cent human powered.

I still haven’t had much to do with the lawn, but I tried to mow it one time with the push mower and it was an ordeal.

If you let the grass grow a couple inches high, it is a lot of work to cut it down. After 10 minutes of passing the mower over a tiny swath of lawn, I was sweating and ready for a long break. A long break that translated into my husband finishing it for me.

I loathe grass. It makes me sneeze, makes my eyes water and I break out in hives when it touches my skin.

Of course the city grass isn’t so bad, but this hatred I’ve developed over the years makes me reluctant to go out and do anything to it.

We have dug up a portion of the backyard and put in raised garden boxes, which are more time consuming to deal with but more rewarding, so the amount of grass needing care is not unmanageable.

But somehow it gets away from us anyway – probably my attitude as well as my husband’s has a lot to do with that.

The cool and wet June meant scrambling to cut the grass in rare moments when it was dry. Our weeds and lawn grew happily; our vegetables yearned for sun and cowered in the ground.

With neighbours intent on keeping their yards looking nice, my husband and I feel guilty when the lawn starts to look a little (OK, more than a little) overgrown.

Another problem is the dandelions, which apparently thrive in cold, wet climates and can create a social crisis of sorts.

I’d like to revise a comment made in an earlier column that suggested pulling weeds out by hand would not be egregious for the average homeowner – dandelions are a bit of an exception.

At first I opted for simply mowing the tops down (they are green and so is grass, right?), but the darn things seem to spread anyway, in stark contrast to the neighbour’s pristine, weed-free lawn.

For the sake of neighbourhood peace, my husband and I have resigned ourselves to getting out there and digging them up before they invade other peoples’ turf. Although by this stage, it is going to take a while, even with the help of yet another borrowed tool.

I foresee either the purchase of a gas-powered lawn mower or a dwindling lawn space in our future.

After all, my husband and I are about as eager to water our lawn as we are to pick the weeds out of it – in the interests of conserving an important natural resource, we opt for a yellow lawn.

But all of the rain this year has so far kept our lawn almost as green as everyone else’s.

reporter@nanaimobulletin.com