GARDEN: Time to cut the grass, or maybe lay a lawn

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The wail of the lawnmowers will fill the air, a row or more of the first early potatoes will be planted, spring flowers will be put in beds and containers. All of this could be followed by sore muscles, perhaps for the first time in months – unless! You set limited performance goals and take one or more breaks between activities.

Cutting the lawn for the first time is a satisfaction that goes deeper than pacing back and forth behind a mechanical tool. For me, it’s the uplifting, tangible effect of changing the appearance of the surrounding borders.

Weed has been in growth mode for a few weeks. We are on the second cut of the year in this garden. The first time you mow, remember to walk over the area in search of dirt, twigs, and stones and avoid the expense of early repairs. Start by increasing the cutting height of the blades, if they are still set to last year’s final trim, and then lowering them as the weeks progressed.

This is an ideal time to start an instant lawn with turf and transform a selected part of your garden in one day. It usually comes in 1-square-foot rolls that I laid in masonry to encourage a solid bond between the two. It is practical to have a wide wooden board ready for any necessary access. There is also the option of developing a lawn from seeds. This is less costly, but it will wait for germination and growth before the desired effect is achieved. First decide on the type of lawn you want and then buy the appropriate seed quality. Should it be a formal ornamental lawn? Or a cheerful green patch of grass that is intended as a utility or play area?

Think about soil preparation before sowing seeds or laying lawn. Fork and rake it, remove all stones, etc. Step over the area to make it firm, spread a light layer of phosphate fertilizer to encourage root development, lightly rake and sow the seeds or lay the lawn.

Although certain restrictions remain, we are better placed to access garden plants and sundries at Easter than we were last year. By clicking and collecting, we can order, turn up, and take away items from a local source. Garden centers and some related businesses nearby will remain open to those willing to wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines. Such

Access is a real lifeline when Easter arrives. Those with a heated or otherwise heated greenhouse facility can purchase a range of young plug-in plants with the assurance that they will have a convenient place to grow, away from late frost. I have several bowls of seedlings and young potted plants that are making steady progress in the unheated greenhouse. There is a lightweight fleece on hand that can be easily draped over it if needed.

A month ago I dug up some spring-flowering polyanthus and primroses from the garden where they hibernate. They were planted in pots and placed on the greenhouse staging. This has brought them to growth and bloom, as planned for the Easter exhibition. This weekend some will go to an open-air bed, while others will be in containers. Go to a plant shop, buy some, and brighten up your Easter.

All we need now is a touch of sunshine for allotments and gardens to bring to life and action. It is necessary to dig, plant early potatoes first, harvest peas, beans, salads, pick rhubarb stalks and harvest wintergreens.

But it is also important not to overdo the physical element. Take time to visit the gardens, which are open to the public, and stroll in the countryside. Absorb the scents, colors, and new growth. Plants also celebrate spring!

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