Enjoying your garden at its summer best

Into the brightest days of summer and gardens are full of colour and scent. Bedding plants are in full bloom, lavender and thyme are surrounded by the constant hum of bees and many vegetables and fruit will be ready to harvest.

Although many annuals will need regular watering, especially those in pots, don’t waste time on keeping your grass green, unless it has been recently laid or seeded. Quite apart from the valuable water saved, lawns will naturally go into sleep mode until rains return. Less mowing too ! For newly-planted trees and shrubs that do need a dousing, water in the early morning or in the evening for maximum benefit.

Keep a close eye out for pests and diseases. A healthy plant is more likely to recover quickly from an attack, so liquid feed vegetables to keep them in tip-top condition. Although many sprays are available for control of unwanted invaders on non-edibles, simply picking off and discarding the worst affected leaves can be a more environmentally friendly alternative. In my view, a garden doesn’t have to be blemish-free to be your very own perfect space. For vegetables, you have to weigh this against the dispiriting loss of crop yield. In any event, if you have box plants, do watch out for caterpillars which can ravage a prized specimen or hedge very quickly if not dealt with straight away.

Apart from spraying persistent weeds in beds and borders, try crowding them out with mass planting. Perennial planting can be so prolific that weeds will hardly have a chance at this time of year: likewise, ground cover plants such as ground-hugging conifers, ivy and vinca (periwinkle) will greatly suppress weed growth.

..and finally, take care in the sun! Wear suitable headgear and plaster on the sunscreen while enjoying the glorious summer weather.

David Hogg

Buckland Nurseries

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