I am grass challenged. Now, right off the bat I suppose I better clarify that I am talking about the grass that grows in the lawn outside your house, or the grass that’s in the neighborhood park, or the grass on the golf course where people putter around Saturday morning. Yeah, that grass…not the smokin’ kind. Okay, are we all on the same page now?
Rosemarie and I have moved around a good bit as we pursued opportunities during our working years. We owned about a half dozen houses in four different states. Some came with a lawn we had to care for, others came with landscaping services provided by a homeowners’ association.
I was never a gardener to any great extent, except to have a respectable vegetable patch in one or two backyards. I never paid much attention to the lawn…until we moved into a house in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Here was a neighborhood loaded with lawn fanatics. If you thought the lawn next to your house was incredibly plush and finely manicured, in all likelihood the next one up was even better, maybe at golf course standards.
So, it was in Jersey that it all started. We had a corner lot so the grass was expansive, facing two streets. I noticed the first summer that our lawn was nowhere near as nice as ANY on the block. In fact, I was surprised I didn’t get threatening messages painted on the garage door. Consequently, I became a weekend weed warrior. I spent Saturdays at the hardware purchasing grass-growing concoctions and the gear needed to apply them. Then on Sunday I’d spend the day doing just that–spreading growth hormones over my entire 1/8 acre of heaven. Some weekends I’d rent machines that dragged me along with them blade-by-blade while the lawn was thatched, pierced, irrigated, rape and pillaged. And how did it all turn out? Well, let’s just say the Joneses never had to worry about me keepin’ up with them.
Then one morning I walked outside and there’s a lake. Yep, a lake. It’s right where the lawn used to be. Is it raining? No. Did one of those street cleaner rigs drive my and soak my lawn? No. Was the sprinkler system left on? No. Hmmm. Hey, just maybe…did an underground pipe break? Ahhhh, yeah.
So out come the plumbers, nicknamed Rench and Plunger. They start digging, looking for the pipe with the leak. Two days and one backhoe later, the culprit cylinder is located…after no less than six grave-sized holes, 4-6 feet deep have been dug into my ugly lawn. At last, I have a lawn that’s really like no other in the entire neighborhood!
Fast Forward to 2017. We’ve been in our Florida home over 20 years now. A huge landscaping company takes care of cutting the grass for the entire community. I can plant shrubs and flowers and patch up any grass areas that don’t have grass. Over the years I have done enough patching to probably cover at least 9 holes of grass at nearby Doral/Trump Country Club. I am at it again this year. I laid beautiful sod back in June, closing in some flower beds and replenishing bald spots and a whole run along the one side of the house. Who was I kidding? It’s all dead now. So yesterday I decided I’d give it one more try. After all, grass is item #8 on my bucket list. It reads as follows: “grow at least one ten-foot square area of grass that lives and needs regular cutting for at least two years.”
This time I spread fresh top soil in all the bald spots. Then I tenderly sprinkle “enhanced” grass seed on top of it and complete the process with a gentle soaking. Then, to keep the landscapers from mowing it down to the root level (like they did my sod) I decided to stake out my claim with bright pink tape in hopes they will keep their tractors and weed wackers away until the new seed has had a chance to settle in and grow. I guess time will tell. I am not optimistic. After all, I have become accustomed to living where the grass is always…browner?