Get ahead, but proceed with caution

It only takes a couple of sunny winter days with a temperature high of 14C to instil a sense of falling behind with seasonal preparations.

The distant roar of mowers, spring shrubs beginning to flower, and an early bird selecting nesting material, all such things noted recently, could induce panic.

But we all know there’s bound to be a sting in the tail so proceed with caution.

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February lawn-cutting has become the norm so it was no surprise to hear mowers up and down the lane recently. If the grass is looking ragged, why not? A trim lifts the garden profile, but also highlights things that need attention in borders. If you are tempted to start early, walk over the lawn first to remove winter debris, and raise the cutting blades to begin with.

We’ve been making full use of the topsy-turvy weather, out in the garden one day, pushing ahead under glass the next.

The vegetable and fruit beds have received attention. Five of the main island veg beds have been cleared and forked, ready for sowing and planting, the sixth being occupied by leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and spring cabbage crops.

Broad beans and peas, emerging from individual pots in the greenhouse, will be planted out at the end of this month. Meanwhile, a plastic tunnel-cloche, little more than a metre long, warms a patch of soil prior to a first outdoor sowing of radish and leaf lettuce.

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We are currently applying the all-important organic mulch that sets up the asparagus and raspberry beds, also soft and top fruit trees and bushes for the season ahead.

Weathered manure from the stables is playing a key part in the planting of herbaceous perennials, heathers and shrubs, some newly purchased, others being lifted and resettled.