Game, Set and Thatch.

Yes. I know. This classic sports pun is so tired, old, cringeworthy and pathetic it could pass for one of Nigel Farage’s speeches. However, my excuse is that we are now buried neck deep in the glorious period of British sporting jolliness we like to call Wimbledon fortnight, with all it’s drama, excitement, strawberries, grunts, double faults, topspin forehands, lobs, drop-shots and rain that we have come to expect.

However, more interesting to Drew the gardener, as opposed to Drew the sports chap, is how they keep their lovely, luscious lawns so…er…lovely and luscious, especially when they have some of the most destructive feet in the world sliding, skidding and stomping all over them.

One answer. They really, really, really look after them. Head groundsman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Neil Stubley, does an amazing job looking after the grass courts, only available to play on, by members, from May to September (except the show courts like Centre Court and Court Number 1 which are reserved for the championships and not played on by plebs).

The grass is one hundred per cent perennial ryegrass and it is cut in Winter to a height of 13mm, which is then reduced for the playing season to a height of 8mm… nice and low, for the finish the players need and, as I heard Neil himself say on the radio just yesterday, the courts are re-sown from scratch every year. They are renovated annually, in September when the tournament is nothing more than the shadow of a wet summer memory. The courts are also mown and rolled, every single day of the championship.

Just out of interest, here is a list of great rear rear-roller mowers that would give you a nice low cut similar to that, although it is highly unlikely you can get your lawn quite as good as the surface of centre court. Or, to be honest, that you could tempt Andy Murray to come and play on it.

I say. Anyone for Tennis?
Morrison Oxford. “I say. Anyone for Tennis?”

Mowers like the one pictured. The Morrison Oxford 48rs You have to admit it looks the part and with a name like the Morisson Oxford, it could be a member of the all England Club itself. More importantly the build, cut, engine and performance are all tip-top and it’s a premium-grade mower with high-quality shining from every rivet.

"The ball was good... it's the racket that's crap!"
“The ball was good… it’s the racket that’s crap!”

But you never know, if you have a budding young John McEnroe in the family, someone with bundles of talent, oodles of drive, shedloads of skill, shelves full of self-belief and a large helping of psychotic charm, plus a lawn that is the right size, there is nothing to stop you setting up your own court.

Of course, to keep your lawn good throughout the year you need to do more than just cut it. Watering, regular feeding perhaps and aerating and scarifying, as any good lawns-man will tell you, are an important part of the process. Scarifying, for example, removes thatch and moss that chokes the lawn and helps get air, water and nutrients into the grass, creating a greener, healthier sward.

So here is an example of a dashed good scarifier that could help. Spring and Autumn are the best times for use but do grab one of these while the price is so amazing. It really can’t last – £199.95 (£200 below the RRP).

Einhell GE-SA scarifier
Scary but perfect lawns: Einhell GE-SA 1335P scarifier/aerator

Yes, the Einhell GE-SA 1335P Petrol Combi Scarifier / Aerator is a popular and extremely good value machine that, is, according to some of our customers… “Good machine – build and performance with robust German Engineering” is “a great little machine for the money.” and creates a result that is “very satisfying”. 

So. From potential giant killers to freakishly tall Croatians, from plucky little Brits to Swiss superstars and Slavic big-hitters to home-spun heroes, (Marcus Willis anyone?) let’s hope that over the next two weeks we get a bit more sun, some great tennis, no Cliff singing in the rain and, for pete’s sake, an attempt to get a British presence in the final. Is that too much to ask Roy?  Enjoy your garden.   Drew Hardy.

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