What a wonderful time of year now the first shoots of spring are emerging and it seems, finally, that we have seen the back of another winter! We gardeners are hardy folk and the desire to get outdoors is strong, even in the worst weather, but the change in seasons is most welcome.
Looking out of our office window at the Botanica HQ gardens, there is always something to grab the attention: clusters of spring bulbs like crocus, dwarf narcissus and hyacinth ('Midnight Mystique' is stunning and highly recommended); the burgeoning buds of lilac, amelanchier and cherry so nearly in bloom; and the delicate shoots of herbaceous perennials emerging from their winter dormancy.
Not everything is looking great in the garden: our lawns have become muddy and sparse over winter. The overly-exuberant office cocker spaniel hasn't helped, but the main culprit is poor drainage and waterlogging, probably the most common reason a luscious new lawn can turn into a boggy mess.
All is not lost and we'll be working on the grass to bring it back to life. Here are our top tips for improving and maintaining a lovely patch of turf:
- The secret of a good lawn is lots of sunshine, plenty of water in dry spells and good drainage in winter.
- Improve drainage by pricking the lawn with a fork in autumn and spring and brushing sand into the holes you've created.
- Grass is hungry and needs regular feeding; apply a nitrogen-rich fertiliser in spring.
- If the lawn is becoming thin and patchy, finely rake the ground, sprinkle over fresh seed and cover the lawn with a sand/compost mix (this is called over-seeding and top-dressing).
- If your lawn seems to be mostly comprised of moss, it isn't getting enough direct sunlight. Cut back over-hanging branches, use shade-tolerant grass seed if possible and rake out (or scarify) the moss in spring and autumn.
- Mow your lawn regularly: don't cut it too short, but don’t let it grow too long either - about an inch is good cutting height.
We'll be putting these tips into action in all of our clients' gardens this spring - check out the results on Instagram (www.instagram.com/botanicalondon)!
The Botanica Team