The period between the new year and easter is definitely a favourite – probably amongst all communities with gardens or access to one, and allotment holders. Those spells of freezing cold weather, perhaps with a day or two of snow, soon pass and warmer weather starts that incredible growth cycle. It does seem to start earlier and earlier – there’s no denying that seeing beautiful green spursts of bulb growth does lighten the mood as you trudge round the garden. In fact, this daily walk around ‘the estate’ is one of the joys of getting up extra early, seeing different plants, hitherto forgotten, popping up here and there. When my garden help was here last week he used some spare shelving to tread on so as not to impact on the lawn or border soil. It’s critical at this time of year not to tread heavily – it damages the structure. So does mowing the lawn too early – it’s amazing how many people feel that need to dig out the mower after the first warm weekend arrives. In fact we should try to put down a plank to stand on and reaching as far as possible either side, gently rake or scarify the lawn and aerate it with a long tined fork, so as to drain any water clogging up before it becomes a boggy mess when the April showers arrive.