Outdoor events are back on the calendar and there are some lovely places to visit within our own country – not least some stunning estates and gardens, which are great places for gardening inspiration. But when you’re home again, you’ll find your own garden is welcoming and relaxing… and needing a bit of attention too.
Flowers and beds and borders
- As herbaceous plants have now put on a lot of growth, some will benefit from a little extra support if you are going to prevent them flopping. Add extra canes or twiggy sticks, taking care not to damage the base of the plant as you drive them into the soil. Plants on border edges that are next to the lawn will need some extra care to ensure that they do not flop over the lawn and cause it to die back.
- Regular feeds with a high-potash liquid feed, such as a tomato fertiliser, will really help to keep summer flowering annuals and perennials in good shape… and producing more flowers. I use it on plants in pots, baskets and other containers as well as on plants in beds and borders. If you’re applying a liquid feed to a hanging basket, always make sure you have another plant beneath the basket, then any drip-through won’t be wasted, but put to good use by the plant beneath!
- Spring flowering bulbs will be available soon, so consider sending off for some catalogues or looking at the websites of some of our great UK specialist bulb nurseries. Whether planted in containers, naturalised in grass or in beds and borders, they make such a great addition to any garden – and they just keep on and on. putting on a great performance.
Fruit and vegetables
- As onion and garlic foliage begins to yellow and flop slightly, it indicates that harvest time is imminent. If you want to speed things up a little, gently ease each bulb partially, but not completely out of the soil, and allow it to sit back in the soil as before. This is a great way to get some of the crop harvested before the rest, so that you can enjoy it sooner rather than later! Don’t be tempted to fold or tie up the foliage, just let it continue to dry out naturally and then, after a week or so, you should be able to lift the bulbs completely.
- As apples, pears and plums start to ripen they become more attractive to birds and other creatures looking for a tasty snack. Any damage to the fruit will hugely increase the chances of brown rot disease developing as this fungus enters via a wound. It develops fast, as a brown, soft area around the wound, which then develops numerous raised, creamy-white pustules and soon renders the fruit completely inedible. Keep a close watch on the fruits and remove any that are damaged as soon as possible – before the pustules develop.
- Continue snapping out side-shoots on those tomatoes that need this – done when the side shoots are still small and with a swift, sharp downwards motion, there is no significant damage done to the main stem of the tomato.
- As soon as rambling roses have finished flowering, prune them. You need to prune back the side shoots that bore the flowers last year, pruning each back to one or two buds from the main stem. Whilst you’re doing this, you may notice some poor quality stems, so remove these, and any that are dead or dying, cutting back to soil level.
- It’s impossible to say how much water a plant will need – too much depends on the type of plant, its age, the soil and, of course, the weather conditions. But one thing I can say is that if you have planted anything within the last 18 months or so, it is more likely to need watering than if it is well established. If it was planted earlier this year, then it’ll be even higher priority. So, although I’m certainly not suggesting you waste water, do keep a close eye on those recent plantings.