Monthly Archives: June 2018

  • Three reasons dads deserve a great big Father's Day 'thank you'

    It’s time to say: “Three cheers for dad!” – and not just to celebrate Father’s Day on 17 June.

    Because this is the time of the year when dads really do come into their own in the garden.

    We’ve picked out three roles they’ll probably be performing in the garden this summer that all deserve a big cheer.
    fathers day

    1. The Lawnmower King. There was a survey done a few years ago which looked at how household chores were shared out. It asked which ones were done by the men of the house and which ones were done by the women. Mowing the lawn was in the Top 5 list of chores that were deemed to be a job for dad. One theory is that it’s an inherited thing, a job that dads pass on to their sons. And, judging by all the blogs and articles on the internet, they don’t see it as a chore at all, because they enjoy doing it.
    2. The BBQ chef. With the UK enjoying some lovely weather this summer, the chances are you’ve had the BBQ out at least once already. And, with Midsummer’s Day on 21 June, those long, light evenings are perfect for getting in the garden and enjoying a get-together with family and friends. Just like the lawnmower, the BBQ has become dad’s territory. Pass him the sausages and burgers and he’s happy … and you won’t find anyone else in the family complaining about that!
    3. The sports star. School holidays, bored kids … but not if you’ve got a sports complex in your garden. From goalposts and cricket pitches to tennis courts and swimming (ok, paddling!) pools, dads are adept at creating makeshift sports ‘facilities’ for the children. There’s probably a good reason for this – they want to join in the fun and games, too! Either way, it gets the kids outdoors and being active, which has got to be worth a cheer.

    The list could go on and on and yes, we know that mums perform these roles as well. But it’s Father’s Day, so let’s raise a glass, show our appreciation and say: “Thanks dad!”

  • World Cup 2018 and Real Grass

    As the 2018 World Cup kicks off, let’s give 3 cheers to real grass!

    For those of us who love our lawns, the grass v artificial debate is a mis-match: grass wins all hands down!
    2018 World Cup
    And, when it comes to football pitches, it seems that footballers agree there’s no substitute for the real thing.

    The Professional Footballers’ Association in England surveyed its members during the 2017-18 season – and a whopping 94% said they were against artificial pitches, much preferring to play on grass.

    However, it seems it might be possible to have the best of both worlds because, for the first time, the FIFA World Cup Final this summer will be played on a surface that isn’t 100% natural grass.

    The brand new SISGrass hybrid surface has been laid at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, where the Final is being played on 15 July. Developed by UK firm SIS Pitches, it’s made of 95% natural turf and 5% plastic in the form of specially-designed PE yarn.

    The company argues that the technology offers greater pitch stability and that it lasts considerably longer than grass.

    Although it’s a first for a World Cup Final, combo pitches are actually quite common in international football. The Wembley pitch has a Desso Grassmaster system that combines synthetic grass with Wembley’s own ryegrass mix.

    There are some pitches used for international matches that are completely artificial. Last year, England played on an artificial pitch in their final World Cup qualifier in Lithuania, which they won 1-0.

    But the players have made it crystal clear what they think about such surfaces. They are hoping their opinion counts, when the English Football League (EFL) meets on 8 June to discuss whether artificial pitches should again be allowed, in the lower leagues at least. They were banned in 1995, partly because of concerns over player injuries.

    The issue is back on the agenda now because some clubs in the National League – the highest tier of non-league football – are allowed to have artificial surfaces. It raises the prospect of a club winning promotion to the Football League, but not being able to take their place in the higher division, Football League Division Two, unless they dig up their pitch and re-install grass.

    The main reason why clubs such as Sutton, Maidstone and Bromley have an artificial pitch is because they can also use it as a community resource and they can rent it out for events.

    But we agree with the footballers who say grass is best. It’s a living thing, it supports nature, it looks great – and nothing quite compares to the smell of newly-mown real grass!

  • June - Gardening blog

    spraying-weeds

    JUNE is a strange month when we can be tempted to do things to the lawn that might actually cause more harm than good. The great British weather is responsible - the welcome return of warm, dry conditions tempt us to spend as long as possible in our gardens; but those same conditions mean we must be restrained, just a little….

    MOWING: Whatever else you do or don’t do, one thing’s for certain – you’ll be mowing regularly now. But mowing in hot weather can really stress the lawn, and we need to be counter-intuitive to do it sensibly. The fast growth and fabulous look of a newly-mown lawn encourages us to cut quite short; but if it warm and dry, you really need to raise the height if anything. The grass forms an important cooling, protective canopy of our soils, so by raising the height you can prevent the sun from baking the soil.

    Stress is also the main reason for keeping your blade really sharp too. A blunt blade tears the grass which slows recovery time. And stressed grass won’t make good use of food and water.

    So don’t stop mowing, but protect it. The lawn will thank you for it.
    WEEDS: Warm weather means that herbicides can more easily damage the surrounding grass, so weed treatment can actually be quite dangerous. If you do need to still treat weeds, treat them in the early morning before you get full sun and heat. This will allow the herbicide to get into the plant as safely as you can. Although, if it’s too hot and dry, it’s best left until conditions change and the weed is growing strongly again.

    REPAIRS: The warmth is great for germinating seed; but what about the watering? If it’s dry, you’ll need to water regularly, never allowing the seeds and seedlings to dry out. That’s a lot of work – and a lot of precious water. So try to time your repairs for wetter times if you can.
    garden
    FEED: A summer feed is helpful, especially if you haven’t fed the lawn since Spring. Organic feeds are not just good for the environment but are also a much safer option. Organics also have the benefit of rarely needing to be watered in immediately – you can apply it and then wait for the next rain shower. Beware, however, that products with moss killers should not be used during hot spells as they may scorch the grass.
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    So, do get out there, do enjoy your garden, and do continue looking after you lawn. But bear in mind the stress that this lovely weather can cause – and if you did all the right things early in the spring, your lawn will be in good health and will survive much better in dry weather anyway.

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