Take the knife to overgrown shrubs
The inheritor of a venerable shrubbery is often faced with monster plants that have got out of hand. These can be tamed, but you have to do your homework first. Identify the shrub, then look up the relevant pruning system. Resist the temptation to chop it all back in one go, as the result will soon be a shapeless
If you have a hungry sand, mulching is the way forward, as liberal applications of organic matter such as well-rotted farmyard manure, vegetable compost and leafmould will bind your grains into crumbs and make the whole system work better.
Mineral deficiencies can be identified by looking in the right textbook and asking those who know. Yellowing between the leaf veins, for instance, is typically a sign of a lack of magnesium, remedied by applying Epsom salts each spring.
If your house is new, look forward to a steady first year of removing brickbats, plastic bags and lumps of buried concrete. It will be worth it in the end.
Above: Liberal amounts of rotted manure, vegetable compost and leafmould are esential to good mulching