Goooal!

If the start of the football season inspires your family to have a kick about to get ready for 2020 Fifa World Cup, don’t let your lawn be beaten into submission by your own enthusiastic footballers. Boost the grass with a summer feed and don’t cut it shorter than 3cm so that the growing tip, which is found close to soil level, can recover the constant wear and tear.

Avoid heartache, by planting vulnerable borders with tough shrubs such as Bamboo, Euonymous Emerald ‘n’ Gold, Weigela and Viburnum for the basic framework and add seasonal colour with perennials and summer bedding that will quickly re-shoot if damaged. Grow precious plants in raised beds.

To cope with an outbreak of Footie Fever grow rescue plants that can be used to make amongst other things, a footballers handy first aid kit

It’s impossible to come off the pitch without a few cuts and grazes so it makes sense to have an antiseptic treatment at your fingertips. The brightly coloured flowers of pot marigold can be boiled in oil and rubbed onto the skin to clear up problems quickly.

The petals of pot marigolds or Calendula are also referred to, as “poor man’s saffron” so make use of them to colour rice and even liven up salads

Sprains and bruises are inevitable when playing contact sports so to avoid expensive physio bills have a clump of comfrey growing in the garden. This ancient herb has the nickname knitbone because its secretions are said to be strong enough to set bones. Steep the leaves in oil and wrap a soaked-bandage over clean skin for quick results.

The ‘magic’ leaves can also be used to relieve varicose veins, makes a nutrient-rich liquid plant feed or boiled and used to make a golden fabric dye.

If you’re a sofa supporter, a good night’s sleep is essential prior to the next round of World Cup matches

Lack of sleep will affect mood, performance and behaviour. To wake up feeling recharged and ready to seize the day make a point of drinking lemon verbena tea last thing at night. As it’s rather invasive it’s best to grow the plant in a pot and stand it in a hot spot where the refreshing lemon scent can waft in through open windows and doors.

You will ease pre-match tension with rosemary tea and it’ll help the team remember the game plan. Gargling with the tea will also get rid of bad breath, which would be most welcome when there are goals to celebrate! Rosemary will also grow well in pots and the evergreen leaves and pretty blue flowers make it a good foil for perennials in the flowerbeds.

Mid-match stress is bound to take its toll and especially if the pressure for goals is on, so to help attackers and defenders keep focused and beat any feelings of depression, it’s a good idea to give them a soothing cup of tea made from the leaves of lemon balm

Grow the golden variety of lemon balm to brighten up borders, planting it close to paths where the citrus-scented leaves will get crushed as you brush by. If you’re looking for love you might also want to surround a secluded sitting area as according to legend, it’s a lucky love charm.

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