May 25, 2020
Have you heard of a tapestry lawn?
This is a new technique in gardening developed by Dr. Lionel Smith, who received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Reading in 2014 and published a book in 2019 on the subject.
A tapestry lawn is an alternative to traditional turf. Grass is replaced by low growing perennial flowering plants forming an interlaced mat of various textures, layers and shades. Can this lawn be walked on? You bet. Tapestry lawns are a good alternative to traditional lawns because they provide greater diversity of flowers early spring through late fall for pollinators, require less maintenance than traditional turf lawns, and they’re more aesthetically pleasing, in my opinion.
The Garden installed its own tapestry lawn this spring around the majestic Larch. Lionel creates tapestry lawns using rectangular mats of single specimens that grow together over time. For our lawn, we did something a bit different, using 1,500 plugs of eleven different species to establish this new garden. A few plants we’re excited to trial include Creeping Raspberry (Rubus calycinoides), Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), and Woodland Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum).
The plants were ordered and on their way just as the pandemic arrived, so we pushed forward to prepare the site and install the plants in early April. The little plugs are wasting no time getting up to speed, and are already beginning to fill in. We’ll continue sharing Tapestry Lawn updates throughout the season and (hopefully) blooms before long.
Want to learn more about tapestry lawns?
- Watch this 2-minute YouTube video with Dr. Smith from the BBC.
- Check out this collection of photos from Avondale Park in the UK.
By Josh Steger | Horticulture Director