Weekend work: Time to get the lawnmower serviced


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The Independent Online

What to do

Get the lawnmower serviced. A Chinese garden-lover, visiting the UK in the 1920s, wondered at our obsession with grass. "A mown and bordered lawn, while no doubt of interest to a cow, offers nothing to the intellect of a human being." In China, of course, water provides the calm, peaceful element that is the chief purpose of our lawns. But they need to look crisp and are high-maintenance.

The old, weather-beaten leaves of Helleborus orientalis are better cut away than left. Then the new shoots can enjoy the light, space and air around them.

Helleborus corsicus may be showing ugly signs of hellebore leaf blotch. This is caused by a fungus, Coniothyrium hellebori, which is prevalent in wet seasons. My plants are badly affected. Unfortunately there's no cure. You must pick off the blotchy, discoloured foliage and burn it. H. orientalis is supposed to be more resistant to the problem. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

What to see

London Gardens Online was launched in May last year and now includes entries on more than 2,500 green spaces in London's 33 boroughs. As any Londoner knows, some boroughs are very much leafier than others. Westminster has more green spaces (159) than any other; Barking and Dagenham have the least (24). Southwark does surprisingly well (98) and so does Bromley (92). Visit londongardensonline.org.uk