Country & Garden: Cuttings: News From The Gardeners' World

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
"MY HUSBAND is the gardener in our family," writes Patricia Southwell, from Letchworth, Hertfordshire. "But while he is recovering from a heart operation, mowing the front and back lawns is my job. The idea of a camomile lawn, which I've heard does not need mowing, is appealing. My husband is against the idea. Apart from the expense of having the old lawn removed and the camomile installed, he says they do need mowing - and weeding - and that if chamomile lawns were any good they would be more popular. Is he right?"

Yes, he is. Except in the matter of mowing. Camomile doesn't need it, because it takes for ever to establish itself and spread into a sward. Meanwhile, the patch needs to be hand-weeded, which is far more labour- intensive than mowing. Camomile is expensive, given the number of plants you need to make anything resembling a lawn; even when they do start to join hands, they are not robust enough to be walked on often.

However, the plant does well on light, sandy soil, where grass might struggle. It is also resistant to drought. If Mrs Southwell wants to experiment with a small patch, she should look for the non-flowering cultivar called `Treneague'. Plants should be set four inches apart.

Anna Pavord