Grass is an unsung hero, and goes far beyond the lawn. It holds the garden together, draws in the elements of the design and accentuates the textures and colours of the whole. Grass flowers and wild flowers provide nectar for bees, butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects.
This year has been particularly good for grass. Garden designers have completely embraced the power of wild meadows, softer grass plantings and prairie effects. The style even reached the Olympic Park, where Nigel Dunnett and Sarah Price introduced visitors to the visual smorgasbord that a looser grass style can create.
Disastrous for so many plants, the bizarre summer has been terrific for grasses. The warm, damp weather has caused them to grow with abandon. Add to that the weeks when it was impossible to get the mower out , and many gardeners are facing overgrown grass of paddock and meadow proportions. It is time to tackle it and cut it back into shape.
Even a small lawn can look tousled quickly after weeks of rain. Getting to grips with the overgrowth requires tools and techniques that you might have not used for years.
Provided you tackle it in sections, you can rise to the challenge of an overgrown area using standard lawn tools, such as a good scythe, grass trimmer, brush cutter or powerful mower. A machine designed to tackle large areas of long grass, however, will give you fast, efficient results without leaving you feeling as though you've engaged in jungle warfare.
Even atop a tractor mower, this is strenuous exercise, so make sure you are properly warmed up. It is better to work in short bursts, especially if you are not used to the exertion.
Where possible, for medium to large areas, choose a powerful petrol-engine dual-line grass trimmer. Look for models that have an optional blade head (brush cutter) to create a double-action tool that can tackle undergrowth and tougher weeds when needed.
• A grass trimmer is often (wrongly) called a 'strimmer'. It is a hand-held machine (although there are some wheeled versions, see main text), that uses a whirring nylon line to rough-cut grass and weeds. Grass trimmers come in petrol, electric and battery-operated versions.
• A brushcutter is so-called because it is capable of tackling tougher, more woody material, and usually has a metal blade (although they also come in plastic).
For Jean's round up of the best equipment to tend to your lawn, whatever size or length, see The 10 best tools for a perfect lawn
• Stripes or swirls? Tartan or check? Telegraph Gardening is looking to find Britain's most imaginatively mown lawn.
We have three Allett cylinder mowers to be won, with a total value of £4,800. Allett has been making precision mowers for professional lawnkeepers since 1965, but has this year launched its first domestic range.
The first prize is a Buckingham cylinder mower with a scarifier cartridge and trailing seat, worth £3,000. Second prize is a Kensington cylinder mower with a scarifier cartridge, worth £1,250, and third prize is a classic cylinder mower, worth £550. All three are petrol powered.
To enter, send a good-quality picture of your lawn, showing the creative stripes, to firstname.lastname@example.org, with your name, address and telephone number. The winners will be chosen by Allett's team of lawn experts, including Lee Jackson, the head groundsman at the Etihad Stadium. The closing date for entries is noon on Friday August 31. Terms and conditions apply. Winners will also need to submit a picture of themselves with the prize.
• 01889 271503; allett.co.uk
Article sourced from The Telegraph