So today I struck the first blow in a task I have really not been looking forward to: rejuvenating the lawn.
I hate lawns, for the record. A lawn to me is a big fat waste of space, resources, and effort; also persnickety and generally a pain in the ass to maintain. I plan to get rid of as much lawn as I possibly can over the years to come, but I've got enough going on in the back yard right now that the front is just going to have to wait, especially since I don't want to annoy the neighbours with my flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants hodgepodge of n00bish garden experiments. I will do my early messing around in the back yard and plan the front more carefully.
BUT in the meantime, there is still this sea of grass to deal with out front. Well, sea of weeds, really. I don't know what is going on, none of our neighbours have anything like the weed problem we do. Maybe I just don't mow often enough. In any case, my evil scheme going forward is as follows: weed like a madwoman; actually mow the lawn once in a blue moon; and dethatch, aerate, topdress, and overseed next month. Then we'll see what happens. If it still looks like crap in the spring, I will throw up my hands and declare it a lost cause.
So today I went out and bought a "Grampa's Weeder" from Lee Valley, one of the best garden purchases I have made all year. This thing uses minimal effort but still makes short work of plantains, dandelions, and even those bastard wood violets. If it has a central root (as opposed to, say, something like creeping charlie, which roots everywhere it touches the freaking ground) you can use this baby to wreak havoc and devastation upon it.
I then went out and spent 2h digging up all the plantains and dandelions and many additional nameless weeds. (It drives me crazy not knowing the names of weeds. Not that knowing what they are really gives me any useful information - it's a weed, right, what more do you need to know? But somehow it's so much more satisfying to yank it out when you know what it's called. "Aha, you bastard such-and-such, I have you now!!") The difference all this diligent effort made is depressingly subtle. Tomorrow I will muster out there again and tackle the rest of the wood violets and the nameless yellow-flowering stuff that's all over the front third of the yard. And also the goddamn creeping charlie, I suppose, although I'm not sure there's much point. What a thug of a plant that stuff is.