Green fingers are better than dirty ones

The phrase ‘green fingers’ is most often associated with a person who has a knack for helping plants blossom and thrive. For Bosse Rappne, the green touch has been with him since childhood. His parents ran Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal, a garden company based at Ulriksdal Palace, close to Stockholm. Over time, it proved only natural for Bosse to follow in their footsteps: In 1985 Bosse took over the running of Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal along with his mother.

However, it was his participation in the popular Swedish TV programme Äntligen Hemma (‘Finally home’), that made Bosse Rappne a familiar face for many in Sweden. He has also written a number of books on gardening.

”I work with furnished nature”

‘I work with restructured nature,’ he says, when asked to describe what he does. He still runs Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal and also lives in a house in the gardens themselves.

Around the old palace there are a range of different activities blossoming and thriving. Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal operates a commercial garden, a café and conference facilities, combined with horticultural design and a number of courses and training programmes.

For Bosse Rappne, it’s not just his fingers that are green. He has long advocated consideration for the environment, and this is one of the reasons he became a diligent user of Aspen’s alkylate petrol more than ten years ago.

‘It offers so many benefits. The machines run better, it doesn’t smell bad, and you can let the youngsters walk behind the lawnmower without feeling guilty.’

”It offers so many benefits. The machines run better, it doesn’t smell bad, and you can let the youngsters walk behind the lawnmower without feeling guilty.”

Bosse Rappne describes himself as a ‘critical user’, who is keen to service and repair his own machinery himself. And for those who tinker with their engines themselves, Aspen offers yet another benefit:

"Everything is cleaner, of course. You don’t get all dirty in the same way."

The benefits are very substantial. Are there any downsides?

"Hmm ... some people might think that the gas is a bit pricy. But when you average it out over a year, it’s not really all that much. Not even for me, as a professional user."


Bosse’s five top tips for a perfect lawn

1: Don’t cut the grass too short!

Grass should never be shorter than 4–5 cm. A blade of grass is a plant, with half of it living above ground and half below. If the grass is cut too short, the root system is weakened and weeds can take hold more easily.

2: Cut often and less

A natural consequence of tip number one; it’s better to mow the lawn little and often than heavily and occasionally. Make sure not to cut off more than a third of the grass in length – it is possible to shock the grass, leading it to take a long time to recover.

3: Leave the grass clippings where they are

The clippings are the next generation of soil. Leave them on the lawn, as long as there is not too much. Any excess may need to be raked off.

4: Don’t use lime

Regular lime treatments for your lawn will release well-bound nutrients into the lawn. Whilst this may provide short-term benefits, in the long term it will drain out the nutrient content of the soil.

5: Fertilise

Moss disappears as love grows

If you’re experiencing problems with moss in your lawn, all the above advice will help. Moss will not thrive in a dense, well-fertilised lawn. The more love a lawn gets, the more the moss will disappear.  However, if the problem is too great, you may need to give your lawn a helping hand:

  • Rake off as much of the moss as possible.
  • If you have any bald patches in the lawn, sew grass seed to repair them, following the instructions on the packaging.
  • Make sure the soil is kept lightly moist for a couple of weeks.
  • Don’t mow the lawn until the grass has properly taken hold.
  • Never mow more than a third of the height off the grass.