Starting the New Year by mowing the lawn
I read somewhere that Staffordshire is reckoned to be England’s overall coldest county so, on that basis, you’d think it would have a slow start to the grass growing season.
I found it surprising, therefore, that whilst many people would be nursing hangovers on the morning of January 1, 2020, I was out mowing the lawns.
What is even more surprising is that on St Hilary’s Day, January 13, traditionally the coldest day of the year, I had to repeat the exercise.
Maybe it is a sign of global warming, but I have checked back through my records and it’s the earliest they have been cut, and we have lived here for 34 years.
The mowing, with my Greenworks battery powered machine, is quiet and relaxing. The problem is what to do with the cuttings. I usually start mowing around Easter so this season will have an extra three months of clippings.
One of the tasks for this time of year is checking the bird nesting boxes in readiness for the upcoming breeding season. I have a number of very pretty triangular boxes from The Posh Shed Company.
The eaved roof can be easily lifted off so you can clear out old nesting material and I brush the bottom with a 1” paint brush, making sure all the dust and rubbish is out.
I then check the fixings to make sure the box will not blow down in a gale.
Graham tackling his wisterias, another job he’s been UP to.
Badgers v Hedgehogs
Another possible reflection of the change in temperature is that the badgers do not appear to have hibernated so far this winter. Their trails are clearly still in regular use.
One of their downsides is that I have not seen a single hedgehog in the garden now for more than ten years. Until Mr Brock arrived in numbers, we had a lot of Tiggywinkles and, consequently, fewer slugs.
Over the next couple of weeks my wife and I will begin to cut off the low branches from the larch trees that grow on the lawn. Some are dead and the others bow so low with foliage in the summer that it makes mowing rather difficult.
I have a battery powered long-reach pruning saw that will do the job and a very old electric shredder to deal with the branches.
The chippings rot down very quickly. I’ve already cleared the low growing branches from the mulberry tree. It has now been in for about 15 years and we are yet to enjoy a single fruit – the blackbirds always beat us to it.
It’s the same with our rather large walnut tree. It must have quite literally thousands of walnuts and these are cleared off in a matter of days by legions of wretched grey squirrels that come in from miles around to take them.
Hey ho, that’s enough grumpiness for one day. Happy gardening!