A perfect lawn is a pampered lawn; and pampered lawns, like pampered people, are apt to develop a number of tiresome diseases.
Beverley Nichols, "Garden Open Tomorrow", 1968
For months now, I have gazed at a brown landscape in my back garden. Our gardener Bernardo laid down a gorgeous new carpet of grass back in September and then day by day, Piero and I watched it slowly wither away. Who knows what the cause was; I'm a newcomer to horticulture and Bernardo never got beyond scratching his head and mumbling something in Spanish. Perhaps my aforementioned case of thumb noir infected him, too.
In photographs, I've resorted to trickery, avoiding the lawn entirely or waiting until sunlight blows it out of focus...
...or making sure something big and bulky obstructs the view.
Two weeks ago, however, Bernardo reseeded the back lawn. With mounting palpitations, I have been waiting for a first exuberant glimpse of green.
Well, it's hatching. And I feel quite maternal about it.
I am going to spoil that baby grass, I am going to pamper it, I am going to cosset it, I am going to spoonfeed it. This time, I am making no mistakes. The trees have been trimmed, the sprinklers have been re-adjusted...
..and the toads have been put on high alert.
After all, isn't there so much more potential pleasure to be gained through perseverance, obstinacy and not giving up than to be handed a garden in perfect and constant bloom?
That's what I tell myself, anyway.