Despite a slow start with unexpected cold snaps and blustery winds, the summer has arrived and the garden beckons. The warmer weather means all the hard work you put in last year will become apparent and the plants you now put outside will fruit, crop and bloom within a shorter timeframe. So it’s time to get busy. Forget Me Not Garden Design share their top tips on how to get your garden summer-ready.
Firstly, you should lift, divide and replant any overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs ready for next year’s display. When replanting, a good handful of sharp sand around the bulbs will ensure they don’t rot in wet weather later in the year.
You will notice that the plants suddenly enjoy a growth spurt, hedges and grass especially. The smell of cut grass is one that defines summer and you should look to keep your lawn at its best by mowing it weekly from now until the autumn damp sets in. Hedges too will need a good haircut but check that there aren’t any nesting birds that have taken up residence in there. Waiting a few weeks for the fledgling birds to leave won’t hurt and you can feel good knowing that you are providing an ideal habitat for wildlife.
Next on the list is growing vegetables. Any plug plants you have raised in a greenhouse can be planted out in June, once the danger of late May frosts has passed. As with any home-grown fruit and veg, the taste is far superior to bought produce. So it’s well worth the effort of feeding, watering, keeping pests at bay and planning crop rotation. Potatoes, for example, are ready to be unearthed and the next crop planted. That way you will to ensure the perfect supply of new potatoes for salad throughout the summer. While the weather can still surprise us with a cool day or two, towards the end of June is also the ideal time to plant out bedding plants for bright, showy, summer displays.
With the warmer weather however, comes the inevitable march of weeds and pests. Regular hoeing of the soil should stop seedlings in their tracks however, stubborn, persistent weeds will require digging. As for pests, companion planting for vegetables can be beneficial, while slug and snail ‘beer traps’ combined with copper tape around plant pots will help protect delphiniums and hostas. Watch out for viburnum beetle eggs which are being laid now and remove them from the plants to limit the damage next year. Horrible lily beetle grubs are a disaster for lily lovers and should be sprayed or squashed to stop them from reproducing, a job that definitely needs gloves.
From this point on, watering will be a constant task as the heat of the day can leave even well-established plants wilting. Try to position as many waterbuts around the garden as possible. They needn’t be an eyesore either; Chelsea Flower Show showcased some great water-saving ideas that were also design statements. In the heat too, don’t forget to properly vent your greenhouse.
Then all that’s left is to relax and enjoy the sunshine with a cool drink and the bees buzzing merrily around you in the summer garden.
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For more advice and garden inspiration, the Forget-Me-Not team can be contacted at www.forgetmenotgardendesign.co.uk or telephone Malcolm on 07769 632890, office 0208 361 2852 (answering machine) or email email@example.com.