Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Camomile Lawn

Our garden is long and thin and has curved raised beds down the sides and in the corners, it also has a winding paved path running down the middle.  When we moved into the house the gap between the paving and the beds (at that time not raised) was grass lawn.  

We wanted extra space for growing so when we built the raised beds we extended them each slightly into the lawn area.  This resulted in small curved areas of grass which became very difficult to mow, it was not easy to use the mower in the space so we ended up doing most of the cutting with the strimmer.  If you have ever had to use a strimmer for extended periods you will know that this is not fun.

As well as difficulty in keeping it trim the grass would get very patchy, no matter how much grass seed we bought there still seemed to be some areas of dirt.  It all seemed like far too much effort, so we started considering alternatives.


Camomile (Trenague) is a low growing, ground covering, non flowering variety of camomile, ideal for lawns.  It does not need mowing, ever (huge plus), it smells delicious when you walk on it, it does not irritate hayfever sufferers and produces a really lush green covering (even in dry summers).


Downsides - it is quite expensive, as it is non-flowering it cannot be grown from seed so you have to buy cuttings and this is not cheap.  Also although it does not need mowing, it does need looking after, until the plants are well established they are not very competitive so you need to be weeding.


Camomile lawn with some grass invaders!

Having weighed up the plus and minus points last year we decided to go for it. The winter of almost constant snow and frost had left the grass in very bad condition so it it seemed the perfect time.  Given the cost we decided to start just filling in the gaps between the paving stones in the path and ordered a number of plants from Morehaven Camomile Lawns.


I was really really pleased with the results, the plants were in great condition when they arrived (bare rooted) and once in the garden grew incredibly fast, they went in last April and by mid summer had joined up nicely and were covering the gaps on the path.  We had kept a few plants back and potted them and were able to split these by the end of the summer to get a bit more coverage.


Camomile along our garden path

This year we decided to order another batch of camomile from Morehaven to try and fill in some more of the garden.  We were also able to split alot of the plant already in the ground and have a lot of our own plugs to plant.  As well and wanting to extend the reach of the camomile, a few of the plants in between the slabs had become very stringy and not too healthy looking.  I'm not sure of the reason for this and have read some conflicting advice, some people suggest the camomile needs a dressing of compost for more feed and some people suggest that it has too many nutrients which can encourage it to grow long and stringy without rooting.  You can see it is still leafing at the ends of the plant and in a lot of cases has rooted just below this leafing so I have been trimming the long stringy bits in the hope of improving the overall leafy coverage.

Stringy, unattractive camomile
Here are the plants as they arrived last week, I've sprinkled them with water and placed them between layers of newspaper in a cool place to keep them as fresh as possible until planted.

Camomile Trenague plants from Morehaven Camomile Lawns
A single bare rooted rosette for planting
It has been quite hard work getting the plugs planted this year due to our almost biblical rainfall!  As much as I appreciate a good downpour when having just planted new plants (saves the hosepipe) it can be very difficult to plant out while it is going on, with the added concern that as they are being planted in large areas of blank soil, there is nothing to hold it there and the soil is being washed away by the large quantities of water.  Still it's definitely getting a good watering in!
Camomile plugs in very wet soil!
Hopefully this years batch will grow as well as last years and by the end of the summer I can have some photos of our completed camomile lawn.


2 comments:

  1. I to have roots. They have come in the second years planting. The first years planting was lovely. The soil was improved on planting probably to much so like you say. Will be glad to hear from you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I to have roots. They have come in the second years planting. The first years planting was lovely. The soil was improved on planting probably to much so like you say. Will be glad to hear from you.

    ReplyDelete

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