How much do you know about grass?

A gardening column by green-thumbed Fernie resident, Terry Wallace.

Dandelions. Love them or loathe them?

Dandelions. Love them or loathe them?

By Terry Wallace


This time of year, many of us may be relieved that Mother Nature has finally given up her hold on winter; but in Fernie you can rest assured that many more of us are already anticipating that crisp fall air. For now though, summer is in full swing and that means firing up your lawn mowers and weed whackers.

To me, grass is like artwork. It is very similar to riding fresh pow lines. When you get to the bottom of that pitch and look back up, you can smile and feel good about what you just accomplished. Grass is no different. There’s nothing finer than mowing a fresh line through some thick green grass. You can cut nice straight lines and you can cut quick, tight turns around trees, you just never want to cut the same line twice. Farm those turns. The next time you cut, cut perpendicular to your previous cut. This will ensure the blades stand straight up and the grass will come in thicker and healthier. Get yourself a nice mulching mower because there’s nothing worse than leaving thick moguls of grass all over your yard. A mulching mower will also cut the grass a lot finer so it will break down quicker and provide the needed nutrients to the soil, reducing your need for fertilizers.

I am not sure how many dandelions are in your yard but mine is littered with them. Dandelions bring out one of two emotions, love or hate. Dandelions to me are a love relationship, much like my love of snow. That mustard-yellow cast against a grass green backdrop is quite satisfying while enjoying a morning coffee out on your front porch. Also if you’re a gardener you should enjoy having them around as they help to attract bees that work hard to help your plants prosper. Leaving them around means you don’t need to deal with them either; no backbreaking labour and no harsh chemicals. If you aren’t the type who loves them, there are ecologically sound methods to liberating your lawn. If you do a quick Google search you can probably find quite a few alternatives to the chemical route. If you are the adventurous type you can pick them before cutting them and turn them into a dandelion wine. Then, next winter you can bring it with you out on your backcountry trip and every sip will heat you up with memories of summer.

Make sure you are geared up for mowing. Ear, eye and foot protection are the minimum; you never know when something could go wrong. Just think, you’d never travel into the backcountry without a transceiver, shovel or probe. And when you are done with your gear, leave it next to your yard equipment, that way next time you head out you won’t be tempted to do the job without it.

Put on your boots, pop a shot of dandelion tea and pull-start your mower. Whether you’re skiing or mowing – enjoy yourself – satisfaction is really just a state of mind.