Wet leaves are piled in sludgy heaps, and it gets dark at lunchtime. For most gardeners, this is the time of year to head inside and stop worrying about mowing the grass.
Gardening columnist Sarah Raven is usually more pleased than most to see the back of lawns season. An expert in productive gardening, she is the first to concede that the perfect greensward is not her speciality. But that might all have changed.
As part of a major new BBC Two series, Great British Garden Revival, she has made a documentary celebrating our lawns. The series aims to help us reconnect to our horticultural heritage, by asking the nation’s experts to take an in-depth look at one aspect of our gardens. For some, it has been a revelation.
“I have always been bored by the idea of lawn maintenance,” Sarah says. “That whole rotary-versus-cylinder debate is not my kettle of fish. But filming beautiful lawns has totally transformed my view.”
In the series, she visits Worcester College, Oxford (above), to see what lawn perfection looks like. She also investigates how the world’s first “floral lawn”, composed solely of flowering and foliage plants, is redefining expectations. Along the way there is practical advice, as she finds out how to keep lawns in top condition, and which lawns best suit different requirements.
“Now one of my long-to-have bits of kit is an old push cylinder mower, the simpler the better, with minimal mechanical stuff to go wrong,” she says.
“The mowers make a fantastic sound, and of course cut grass is one of the best scents in the world.”
Other presenters in the series, which starts on December 9, include Diarmuid Gavin, Carol Klein and James Wong. Gavin investigates glasshouses, while Klein tackles rockeries. Sarah’s fellow Gardening contributor Toby Buckland, meanwhile, takes a look at herb gardens.
For gardeners hiding from the cold, the series could be a perfect way to gain tips for next year’s garden without leaving the warmth of your living room.
The Great British Garden Revival starts on December 9 at 7pm on BBC Two