Hints & Tips
I was recently (over the weekend) at a very nice and comfortably lavish party in North London, held in the garden of my dear friends Gordon and Hermione. This garden is surprisingly large for a sprawling metropolis where a slightly larger than average studio flat goes for the same price as a castle in Middlesborough (if there are any castles in Middlesborough that is).
The party was excellent, free fizz flowed, food was handed out by two sweet and helpful waitresses, One short, one tall, like an angelic tribute act to Laurel and Hardy working for once I suspect at above the minimum wage, unlike most. It was a most enjoyable affair. The hosts were charming, the guests interesting and lively. In fact, the only thing that puzzled or perturbed me was how they got that piquant sour cream and chopped chorizo inside the mini pitta-breads and what made the alioli so delicious.
That was until I snuck off to the end of the garden to enjoy a sneaky cigar (I know, I know) and saw the patch of long, lank and lascivious grass behind the expansive shed/cabin/playroom at the back of the garden.
It was a veritable jungle and just the sort of patch that makes you wonder ‘Why didn’t they deal with this when the lawn was mowed?’. Bit of wild undergrowth was tucked away behind the shed, hiding from the world. Almost like a teenager who has allegedly tidied their room but actually just picked up everything off the floor and stuck it behind the wardrobe.
I was intrigued and curious, especially when I heard a definite ‘growl’ coming from the grass. After I had ruled out leopards, lions or a wild dog, I thought it might be `Mrs Drew – who I had not seen since I wandered off to top up my champagne flute half an hour ago – showing her disapproval of my cigar habit yet again, but it turned out to be one of the guest’s children playing his own solitary game of Jurassic World.
However, it made me think, as ever, it’s always good to clear up and reclaim those parts of the garden you would rather not think about.
My chum and colleague, the vinyard haunting Dick Roberts highlighted a fabulous machine yesterday, guaranteed to take down your jungle, the MowDirect exclusive MD Tondu Wheeled Trimmer Mower. Described variously by enthusiastic customers as ‘Highly recommended’, ‘Excellent Product! ‘a good solid machine that works perfectly.’ ‘ Great Machine’, ‘Brilliant‘ and ‘Good value for money’, this 5-Star reviewed product will certainly do the job, leaving you to merely mutter the words ‘Dr Livingstone I presume;’ to the long-haired and bearded man you find lost after you have cleared the wilderness’.
Now. As usual at this time of year, here are a few tips to take note of when you are clearing, whether it be with the excellent above mentioned MD Tondu or your own choice of brushcutter, strimmer or line trimmer.
Don’t forget to wear safety gear. Too many people out there think open-toed sandals are the ideal footwear fro strimming, only to find open-toed sandals are not good if you don’t have toes. Sturdy shoes, please. Plus good quality gloves, NO loose clothing, and, if possible goggles, helmet and ear defenders.
Don’t drink and strim. Even one cheeky beer can restrict your reactions and affect your accuracy so just wait for that cold, crisp beer until after when you can feel as though you have earned it. Do, however, keep drinking water and the odd cup of tea won’t hurt either.
Always check the overgrown area first. You don’t want to hurt any wildlife or damage your equipment so make sure there is nothing in the long grass you don’t want to cut or clear.
Working in sections makes it easier. It is far easier to see what you are doing if you work in sections so mentally divide your area first and do it in chunks.
Always go from right to left. It’s simple this, but people often forget. Trimmer heads nearly always spin anti-clockwise so it makes sense to cut from right to left so that the clippings fall onto the bit you have already cut rather than the section you are about to cut.
Get rid of your weeds and clippings, cuttings, efficiently. If you are allowed bonfires, great (always check the local council rules) if not, bag them and take them to the dump. If you leave them lying around they will just rot or regrow.
Then when it is all down you can measure up for your outdoor office, sauna, gymnasium or recording studio or simply prepare and cultivate the ground for flowers or veg, (see this article for details) or simply just stick a deckchair or sun-lounger down, take the weight off your sturdy-shod feet, and have that well-deserved beer you have been saving.
The weather looks good this week and next so come on, let’s get on with it.
Enjoy your garden. Drew Hardy
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