Travelling around Edinburgh the grass has a lushness usually associated with the month of March. Plant growth is advanced for this time of the year. This January has been the sixth warmest on record, soil will be warmer than usual for this time of year and despite the best efforts of storms Brendan, Ciara and Dennis to keep us gardeners indoors the signs in the borders are evidence we should put effort into an early season sweep through cultivated areas to tweak weed seedlings before woody and herbaceous growth hides the offending species until they emerge triumphant into the light to flower, set seed and produce more work for the future. Indeed, ignore the Galium aparine, cleavers, seedlings now and the next time you are aware of them will be as you realise the seed has colonised your clothing from a midsummer visit to deadhead the border. Take care not to slice off emerging bulbs and only work when the soil surface is dry. Remember to scuff out any footprints that leave evidence of your activity.

Galium aparine, cleavers, seedlings germinating