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Ten Tips for Summer Gardening

Summer is the time when your garden should be looking its best and you should be able to enjoy more time outdoors. A good gardener can always find something that needs doing, but look for labour saving ways of doing essential jobs and concentrate on reaping the rewards of the work you did earlier in the year.

 
1.      If you need to water the garden try to do it early in the morning. If you water later in the day much of it will evaporate before it can soak down to plant roots, and the sun shining through drops of water can scorch leaves. Watering in the evening leaves the soil damp overnight – perfect for attracting slugs and snails!
 
2.      Remove fading flowers before they set seed to encourage plants to produce more flowers. For plants with soft stems such as pansies and impatiens the dead flowers can be pinched off with your fingers, but be careful not to pull too hard or you might remove more than just the flowers! Secateurs or scissors can make this job easier and you’ll need them for flowers with tough stems.
 
3.      On a hot day the temperature inside a greenhouse can be almost unbearable, even with the door and ventilators wide open. Spray water on the greenhouse floor in addition to watering the plants in it. As the water evaporates it will help to cool the air. It will also deter red spider mites that love hot, dry conditions.
 
4.      Installing an automatic watering system for containers will allow you to relax on the patio and water your plants at the same time!
 
5.      If you have young children, grandchildren or other visiting youngsters, introduce them to the delights of gardening. Children love learning new skills so give them interesting jobs like harvesting fruit and vegetables, and show them how to sow and care for easy to grow seeds like radishes, beans and nasturtiums. They’ll be learning about nature first hand and you’ll be gaining a willing helper.
 
6.      Take an occasional day off from your own garden to visit some of the many private gardens open to the public under the National Gardens Scheme. You’re bound to come home with lots of new ideas.
 
7.      Put mulches around trees and shrubs to conserve water in the soil, especially shallow rooted species like rhododendrons and azaleas. A good layer of mulch will also keep down weeds.
 
8.      If fruits of the squash family – marrows, pumpkins, cucumbers etc. – rest on wet soil they soon start to rot. If a week of rain is forecast put straw or pieces of wood under the fruits to keep them off the ground.
 
9.      Autumn flowering bulbs and corms including autumn crocus and cyclamen can be planted throughout July and August to provide new colour when the summer flowers are finishing.
 
10. Fine, dry weather is the best time for laying concrete and building walls. If a new path, attractive raised flower beds, or other hard landscaping features would enhance your garden get a free, no obligation quotation from a professional landscape gardener before the end of summer.