At the Botanics we fired up a rotary mower and made the first cut of the year on Monday, January 28.
If you are thinking of cutting your lawn and the mower has not been touched since last season, now is the time to check it over. Are the blades sharp and set? If motorised, does the engine require a service?
This is also a good time to re-turf the edges of borders. Where plant growth flopped from cultivated areas on to the lawn last year, the grass beneath may have died out.
Lightly fork and prepare the soil for re-laying a fresh piece of turf cut to shape. Lightly top dress with a fine organic material to help the cut edges knit together. Avoid tramping on the early foliage of bulbs planted through the lawn, as this will result in the appearance of mutilated flowers.
Having attended to your lawn, turn your attentions to the borders. You will notice that plants here are also starting to grow. If you have not already done so, this is time to clear the old stems to avoid damaging new growth.
While it is too early to be applying any fertiliser, it is a good time to be mulching the ground with compost.
Choose days when the ground is not frozen or too wet – sadly all too few – and give it a good weed over. Apply a three to four centimetres of well-rotted compost.
This will suppress weeds and help lock in moisture. It is also a slow-release food supply that will get all plants off to a good start.
If you do not have access to compost, other mulching products are available from garden centres.
As you work through your borders check over the shrubs for wind rock – roses can be very prone to this. To complete work for now, climbers such as clematis can be pruned to remove winter damage.