Summer has arrived at last and there is plenty of growth in the garden now. After a shaky start to the season it appears to be settling in to proper summer weather….but we shouldn’t say that as its tempting fate ! Either way, can’t do anything about it but just make the most of the good days ! There is plenty to do out in the garden this month but with the long bright evenings there is also plenty of time to get it all under control.
1. The most important task over the next few weeks is to get your summer flowering plants planted up. Window boxes, hanging baskets, tubs, pots, barrels, boots, wheelbarrows…you name it, just plant it up ! This is an exciting time to add colour to your garden and to brighten up your patio areas or balconies for summer barbeques and eating outside in the evenings ! There is a wide range of plant varieties to choose from with different colour flowers and different growth habits from trailing ivies and Petunias to miniature conifers and the traditional Geranium. When planting up you can add slow release pellets to make fertilizing easier and ‘swell gel’ can make watering a bit easier as well as it will help the compost retain water. As for the mixture of plants you choose it is entirely up to yourself ! you can choose a certain theme for your containers with shades of reds and pinks for example or go mad and make every container different. Whatever you want as you will be the one looking at it, so experiment a bit and enjoy the colour ! When you have the arrangements growing away , watch out for slug attacks and greenfly as well as checking your containers for watering each evening. It may not be necessary to water every evening but just get in to a habit of checking them and you can see if they are under attack from any bug or slug ! If you didn’t add any slow release fertilizer at the time of planting add some liquid feed when watering. Follow instructions regarding frequency of watering as each brand would be different.
2. Out further now into the garden the lawn has been recovering well from its winter rest and there is an abundance of daisies and buttercups in the natural lawns. If you are in favour of a lawn of grass and no interruptions, spray with a lawn weedkiller that will only kill the weeds or spread a 3 in1, lawn fertilizer which also contains a moss and weedkiller. This will selectively kill the weeds and moss at the same time as encouraging grass growth.
3. As we approach mid-summer the range of shrubs that are coming in to flower is increasing. One of the best shrubs for this time of year is the Hydrangea. This has always been a traditional favourite for any garden. It thrives in wet conditions as well as being tolerant of dry spells. It comes in a wide range of flower colours in three distinct shapes. There is the more traditional ’Mop head’ varieties, then there is a more delicate and intricate flower head of the ’Lace Cap’ range. The third type are the cone shaped flower clusters of the taller, spiky, ’Panniculata’ types. All of these are great shrubs to have in your garden . This year there are several new varieties available as well as a range of flower colours in the ’Black Diamond’ range that has almost black coloured leaves which provides a fantastic back drop for their deep coloured flowers. On another note, the shrubs that have already flowered this year like Camelias, Spirea, Choisya, Forsythia..etc can be pruned back now so that they can start sprouting again with new growth and time to produce the buds for next spring’s flowers.
4. Summer flowering perennials are beginning to put on a good show now; Astilbe, Agapanthus,Dahlia, Lupins, Delphiniums, Gallardia, and Nepeta are some of the most popular but watch out for slug attacks on the Lupins, Dahlias and Delphiniums. The young shoots of these could easily get damaged when growth starts early in the spring. It would be advisable to start supporting the taller perennials like the Astilbe, Dahlia and Crocosmia Lucifer as their sudden soft growth could get easily flattened by a summers gale .
5. And as for the vegetable garden…everything should be in full swing ! Potatoes are growing well and will need earthing up and spraying against blight. There is still plenty of time to sow seeds of salad crops and even peas and beens for late summer harvesting. The warming soil and the bit of rain we have had recently will speed up the germination of all these seeds. Watch out for slugs again, as they will be there every night waiting for those delicate shoots to appear above the soil when they will nip them off before you can see them ! Sow peas and beans in containers inside to encourage quicker germination and plant out when they have toughened up a bit. Fertilize the growing crops with some Pelleted Poultry Manure as this gives a slow release of fertilizer over a few weeks when you can then repeat the dose.

And remember to find some time to sit back, have a BBQ, bottle of beer and enjoy the fruits of your gardening.. but watch out for the midges ! Ouch !

Call out to us at Willowfield Garden Centre for further advice ..or just a chat !