This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A correspondent of the London Chronich, in describing the gar-den of A. Mongredien, Esq., Forest Hill, Sydenham, says: "The gardens attached to this prettily situated suburban residence, though not extensive, are nevertheless in many respects extremely interesting. To Mr. Mongredien belongs the merit of having first pointed out that Spergula pilifera (of which a full account was given) was capable of forming an excellent substitute for grass in the formation of lawns. A piece of ground planted here four years ago with this pretty little moss-like Alpine is now, and has been for these three years past, closely covered with a carpet of the richest green - soft and elastic to the tread, and forming a turf equal to that of the finest grass, for which at first sight it might easily be- mistaken. Over grass it however possesses many advantages; in the first place, it requires no mowing, and it is reported to withstand the effects of long continued drought better than any grass, remaining comparatively green when the latter has been burnt up.
Another point in its favor is its evenness of surface, provided the ground laid down with it has been made so in the first instance - a matter of great importance - for as the plant itself never grows more than a 1/4 or 1/2 an inch in height, any inequalities or other defects of formation are ever afterwards perceptible. After planting, the only care that it requires is sweeping and rolling. If left undisturbed it would be one mass of white flowers in July; but as most people prefer a lawn perfectly green to one covered with blossoms, the latter should be removed by frequent sweepings with a fine besom. A birch broom is too rough for it. In forming a lawn with this plant, Mr. Mongredien's gardener, Mr. Summers, recommends the seeds, which are very small, to be sown behind a north wall, and when up to be transplanted where required, placing the plants regularly over the,surface, at say six inches apart. On strong clay it sometimes assumes a yellow hue; but this has been found to be easily converted into a beautiful green by watering with weak liquid manure.
Unforeseen disadvantages may yet arise however in connection with the employment of this as a lawn plant; but at present, judging from the little experiment that has been made with it, it certainly promises to answer perfectly, and in an economical point of view, seeing that mowing may be dispensed with, it cannot fail to be highly appreciated. A trial of it on a more extensive scale is now being carried out, the result of which we hope to be enabled to report hereafter. The gardens here, except where the glasshouses are, viz., on the top of the hill, slope abruptly to the north, and it is on this aspect that the plant has been tried".
[Seeds as well as plants of this grass have been received and are on trial in America, and we hope soon to report upon it. - Ed].