Priestgate

So, by the time we get into June, it’s fair to say that Summer has arrived.

And the thought of spending more time outside is a powerful one.

But what might be the key considerations to improving our enjoyment of those much anticipated Summer months?

The first thing we might say is how much better any garden looks if the lawn within it is thriving. A well tended area of grass creates the perfect foil for other features.

Secondly it’s the stuff of Summer to have plenty of colour. Whether it’s in the borders, hanging baskets, or in tubs and troughs on the patio. And Summer Bedding Plants hit that particular spot all Summer long – right up to the first frosts of Winter.

Thirdly, there are surely fewer nicer examples of the simple pleasures of life than that of sitting somewhere comfortable and secluded in your own garden. Somewhere to chat and unwind, somewhere peaceful and safe. 

Number four, you can add to that relaxing mix the soothing sight and sound of water.

You don’t have to have Niagra Falls – there are some very nice stand-alone water features around these days.

Getting away from attractive summer garden features, here’s top tip number five for keeping those borders, planters and pots flowering strongly throughout the summer months. Once a flower has been pollinated, the first part of its purpose is over – it then goes to seed.

If however we remove the flowers as soon as that process begins, the plant ‘thinks’ it has to flower again, so that it can make seed.

Keep repeating that process throughout the summer to reap the benefit of a longer flowering period.

For tip number six I’ve put a note here about watering, even ‘though you might think it’s a bit obvious.

What I feel I should stress is the risk that many people take when they buy soil-less potting composts for their pots etc..

Nothing wrong with that. However, once they have dried out, they are difficult to re-hydrate fully.

It is all too easy to pour a bit of water on them without realizing just how dried out they really are, and to walk to the next one firmly believing the one you’ve just watered is OK when perhaps it isn’t.

A little bit at a time is the best policy. Concentrate on 4 or 5 at a time, and when you’ve done the 5th one, go back to the 1st one.

If in doubt, and it’s maybe a pot that you can easily lift – adopting the correct lifting posture of course !!! – lift it before watering and again afterwards. If you’ve done a good job, it will be noticeably much heavier.

The last of my 7 tips for Summer Gardens is feeding plants in containers.

Newly planted young plants will be actively growing once you have planted them. Averagely, a fresh potting compost will probably have sufficient nutrients within them to support such growth for maybe 8 weeks.

So, what do we do after 8 weeks ? Well, we’ve all seen those red bottles in the regular supermarkets as well as the gardening supermarket chains. It’s generally sold as tomato food, and has in it  just what we need to help our other flowering plants as well.

So, maybe every two weeks through the season give them some tomato food – the dilution instructions will be on the bottle (don’t buy it if they’re not) – and just make sure that it’s not tomato sauce, and definitely not brown sauce !!