Grass Clippings, 10th March

Grass Clippings 10th March

The golf course team have been busy trying to get the practice area works completed this week.

Course Improvements
The contractors finally took delivery of the artificial carpet surface last week and laid the tee on Saturday afternoon. We have now placed the shelter structure over the tee and reinstated the path that connects the golf nets to the practice area, following the original pathway bordering Fairacres Estate. The fairway, off the practice area, has been cored, seeded and top dressed with sand to help improve the overall sward of this area for practice.

This will see the first phase of the improvements to this area completed and allow play, with full use of the bunker, once the newly laid turf is knitted together. Once we achieve grass growth, when spring kicks in, we will reshape the landing areas of the field and the second phase of the works will involve sympatric mounding to divide the practice facilities from the 18th hole and an enlargement of the green in the autumn time.

Chris Hughes and the grounds team have also completed their early spring renovations of the croquet lawns, with organic matter removal being the principle reason why an early coring is required. With Easter being early this year, I believe we are all wishing for spring to begin as soon as possible and some warmth and sunshine to spark grass growth and trees and plants to wake from their winter slumber.

Magnolias
Walking around the Barnes and Roehampton area, I have noticed that a lot of magnolias have been affected by these late spring frosts. At a time when we are looking forward to a splash of colour in early spring, it is sad to see that one of the early blooms has been hit by the recent low temperatures. Hopefully there are enough buds to take advantage of the milder weather in March and April.

The magnolia marks the arrival of spring for many and their delicate cupped flowers on bare stems leads an exotic touch to many a garden. Many of the older varieties were transported by the great plant hunters from the Himalayas and China in the last century, so were sought after and converted for their rarity. In more recent times, cultivars have been bred within these shores and, although still difficult to track down, are worthwhile sourcing for their rich flower shades and forms. One of the points that should be considered with magnolias is positioning and final size of the plant in the future. A sheltered spot will help protect the delicate flowers from wind and frost damage. Equally important is to recognise that these shrubs grow to a considerable size given the right positioning and care. It is not unusual for them to reach four to six meters in size, which can impact on the plant around them in decades to come.

Your Garden
For the gardening folk, with spring bulbs now appearing, take photos of areas you have spring features and to help you plan and improve these plantings in the future. At the end of the season, when fresh bulbs are available it is not always easy to imagine the effect created or desired when there is little trace of the existing bulb planting positions. Take pictures on your phone now and make notes on where you wish to brighten up those forgotten corners. It's now time to take a closer look at lawns and any areas that need repairs. I would suggest holding off until soil temperatures increase before over seeding, but aeration of the lawn is important and key to a good start for the grasses this time of the year. If you are meticulous with your lawn care, top dressing with a good quality sand (not builders sand which may contain lime) or loam dressing is an essential part of the process following aeration.

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