Summer Is Icumen In. Pamper Your Lawn Like A Princess

WARNING! This blog contains Wicker Man Spoilers! But to be honest, if you haven’t seen it by now…

Yes. ‘Summer Is Icumen In’  is a medieval English song dating back to the mid-13th century, often sung at harvest festivals and made famous by the fantastic film The Wicker Man.  In this venerated and totally bananas film, the late, great, will-be-sorely-missed Lord High Dracula, Wizard and all-round super-villain Christopher Lee, as Lord Summerisle, gets all sacrificial and swings his arms about as he sings at the top of his voice in a nice pullover and tweeds while attending the community barbeque… Edward Woodward being the main course. The second verse Loudly Sing Cuckoo (translation) refers to Lord Summerisle himself, who is as bonkers as an afternoon spent cheese-rolling with Helena Bonham Carter, Robert Downey Junior and Boris Johnson. You could almost say the Wicker Man’s main antagonist is a basket case… (sorry).

Yes. Who would have thought wicker could have such depths…

Wicker... scary isn't it?
Wicker… scary isn’t it?

However, the point is that, as the song says, roughly translated from Middle English… ‘Summer is a coming in’, (whether you like it or not) ‘loudly sing cuckoo’ and the cuckoo is actually saying, in his charming way, “Oi. Get your lazy bottom out of bed, drag on some shorts, get out into the garden and pamper your lawn ‘cos time is a-moving on and July will a-soon be a-here mate!”

We can’t all dress up in animal masks and terrorise the local policeman… nor should we… but The Wicker Man is all about making things grow, keeping the Green Man happy and singing dubious bawdy songs as you try make this year’s harvest the bestest ever.

So. You want a lush lawn; you should by now be mowing at least once a week and probably lowering the cutting height a little, depending on the type of lawn and where you are. For example, Norfolk at the moment is ‘well lush and green’ but in London right now it is dry as a Camel’s elbow. If you need a good lawn mower and you are wanting to move to a petrol model, try this one… hand-propelled so you get a bit of a workout, easy to use and a great little cutter with an economical engine to save money.

However you do it, by hand, by self-propulsion or by robot, remember you need to pamper your lawn like a princess, keep it happy, make sure it is free of choking moss and thatch. Keep looking after it and you will have a much more enjoyable lawn come mid-summer. Give it a good old rake before mowing. You can do this with a regular rake, or you could save energy and your poor abused vertebrae by using a Powered Lawn Rake like the Bosch ALR900 to get rid of moss and thatch, always good if you plan perhaps to dance naked on the lawn to enhance the fertility of your garden… though that works better on a deserted Scottish Island and less well in the centre of Stroud.

The Rake's progress... old joke. Old rake.
The Rake’s progress… old joke. Old rake.

You might well want to give the grass a bit of a drink, especially since it has been quite dry recently, but remember to soak it thoroughly if you do. 

Also, think about weed control at this time, there’s nothing can damage your harvest as badly as out of control weeds… and you don’t need to sacrifice any chickens, goats or coppers, just get in there and do the job by hand.

Anyway, the summer, she is a coming and to celebrate, here is the first verse in the original Middle-English…

Lhude sing cuccu
Groweþ sed
and bloweþ med
and springþ þe wde nu
Sing cuccu

…and then translated into modern English…

Spring has arrived,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
The seed is growing
And the meadow is blooming,
And the wood is coming into leaf now,
Sing, cuckoo!

Loses something in translation don’t you think? Enjoy your garden. Drew Hardy.




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