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Back to Grassroots with Eugene Higgins

Thursday, 12 October 2006


Our wonderful landscape gardener Eugene Higgins is going back to his grassroots and showing us how to sow the perfect lawn. Eugene will also be answering your questions live on the show so get your calls in now.

A bit of history about lawns
Historians have written about lawns in persian, greek and roman gardens but evidence for their existence is very scanty in the 13th century. The book 'The Advantages of Country Living' details how to lay a lawn in a similar style to how we carry out the work nowadays. In those days it was studded with periwinkles, primroses and pinks. The word "Laund" was used to describe what became the word lawn. All changed when the lawnmower was invented in 1830s allowing it to become a leisure that could be enjoyed by many more people - no more shears!

Types of Lawns
Ready-to-go Lawns

Roll on lawn is considerably more expensive and can't be walked on for two weeks it mustn't be allowed to dry out, and it should be put down correctly a bit like a carpet. In the last 5 years roll on lawn has gone from 20 per cent to 90 per cent of lawns put down -  as is the current desire to have the instant garden! Roll on lawn should be put down by the experts and a sprinkler is essential.
Two Types of Roll on Lawn
Grade One
- Creeping Bent Grass. This is such a fine grass and can be seen in the back gardens of golfers as it's a perfect putting green! €10 per square yard
Creeping Bent Grass - €10 per sq yard
Grade Two - Standard Rye Grass Mix. Medium in texture, and the most popular type of grass in Ireland.
Standard Rye Grass Mix - €3.50 per sq yard

Seeds will be a lot cheaper and give you a lot of options in grade ie. drought resistant(ish) meadow/ wildflower and fine grade. But quite a bit of work and time is needed to coach it to the mature lawn.
There are two special types of seeds that stand out for Eugene
Wildflower Meadow Mixture - Meadow/wildflower lawns encourage wildlife into your garden. These are natural and attractive lawns which produce more than 50 species of flower. This is badly needed as land can be over tilled depriving butterflies, bees, lacewings etc. from the landscape. Wildflower lawns have become quite popular recently with landscaper architects. They are also very low maintenance - you can get away with cutting the grass only three times a year! 0.5k bag will cover 50 square metres.
Wildflower Meadow Mixture - 0.5kg - €16.95
Easy Repair - an organic-based, nutrient-coated lawn seed for repairing existing lawns. After the warm summer we've just had, we have a lot of drought in our gardens and they need a little TLC. Similarly for after winter frost. How it works: scratch the surface a little with a rake and sprinkle the seeds through the grass. It will feed your grass with nutrients, keep it looking green and healthy and is also great for use after de-mossing your lawn.
Easy Repair Seeds - 1kg - €9.95

Real Grass

A solution for shaded, poor drainage or highly used lawns. Or the very last gardener. Great for roof gardens. Available in many colours, textures and pile heights. This particular one is an inch in height.
Real Grass - €40 per sq metre

Kitty / Bunny grass
Stop your kitties and bunnies nibbling your houseplants with this alternative. Nutritious and tasty, with naturally sweet stems, the oil content aids digestion and assists with fur ball elimination. Fast and easy to grow, just like cress, in a tray or pot indoors or outside. Seedlings appear after 3-5 days.
Buy it on ebay for a couple of euro!

Eugene's Top Tips
. Autumn is a great time to seed a new lawn as the ground is warm and moisture is retained better!
. Lawns will always recover from Irish drought.
. Lawns absorb water doing flash floods unlike concreted gardens which are all too frequent these days.
. Autumn lawn food is one of the best lawn feeds as it strengthens the roots which means a stronger lawn next year.

Where to Buy
Roll Out Lawns:

Independent Seed Company,
New Road,
Co. Kildare.
T: 045 6278 978 / 9

Synthetic Lawns 
Co. Dublin.
Tel: 01 8413281/ 01 8413288

All varieties of lawn seed available from Woodies DIY Ltd. Nationwide.

You can contact Eugene at
Colour Green
Co. Offaly,
Phone: 0506 55840.