As a weather-obsessed nation we’ve certainly got lots to talk about this year, but personally, I feel sorry for the plants. Our gardens have had to contend with the greatest snowfall in living memory, and now pretty much sub – Saharan conditions, all within the space of three months. If your lawn’s going brown, don’t worry – when the rain comes, as it surely will, the grass will recover and green up fairly quickly.
If you’re heading away on a break this summer there are a few things you can do to help the garden along while you’re not at home. With a little forward thinking you can return to a green and colourful welcome rather than a tired and dusty plot in which everything’s gone over. Here are a few suggestions:
Mature gardens shouldn’t really need watering, except in periods of drought, but keep an eye on the weather forecast and have a relative or neighbour ready to drop by just in case.
Anything planted within the last year needs much more minding, and a good drink a couple of times a week in dry weather, so plan accordingly.
Summer containers dry out really fast, and need watering once or even twice a day – you can’t count on rain to do this as it rarely reaches the compost. To help slow down the drying, group containers together in the shadiest place you can while you’re away.
Deadhead summer bedding plants before you go to prevent them going to seed, and give pots, window boxes and hanging baskets a liquid feed to keep them going – organic liquid seaweed is perfect.
In the borders, deadhead anything you normally would to encourage repeat flowering, and if you’ll be away for a couple of weeks, you could even consider removing fully opened flowers – it may go against the grain but there’s no point in them performing to an empty house when you’re away and coming back to lots of brown, withered blooms. A deadhead now should encourage new buds to greet you on your return.
If you have sweet peas or dahlias in flower, remember the more you cut them the more they grow, so cut all flowers before you depart and spread the love a little by inviting a neighbour to keep themselves supplied in your absence.
Finally, it can be tempting to bring home cuttings from abroad, but this does contribute to the spread of plant pests and diseases, as well as potentially invasive species that can harm our green and pleasant land. So leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photos – and bon voyage!
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
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