From dead-heading to regular mowing, read these top tips on how to keep your garden blooming during the hot summer months.
In a slow market, buyers are getting more choosy, looking for a perfect property inside and out. While you can’t change the size of your plot or location, here a to-do list to keep your outdoor space looking neat and attractive
Watering can be time-consuming but is essential in dry summers to keep your garden looking its best. Give your garden a good drink once or twice a week. The ground must be thoroughly soaked after watering: a sprinkling is not enough. Aim to give about 2.5cm (1 inch) of water to draw plant roots deeper into the soil. Containers may need watering once a day.
Every gardener should have a watering can fitted with a fine rose and this may be all you need if you have a small plot. Most gardens will benefit from an outside tap fitted with a hose. Ideally it should be long enough to reach all parts of your garden.
You can easily collect your own water. Invest in a water butt and place under a roof, garage or garden shed to collect the rainwater as it runs off the gutter. Rainwater is better for your plants than tap water and more environmentally friendly too.
Summer is also the time to feed plants. Plants in containers will quickly deplete the fertiliser in potting compost. You will need to feed weekly from about six weeks after planting. Tomatoes, roses and lawn grass have specifically formulated fertilisers for the growing season. Clematis also benefit from feeding. When planting permanent borders of trees and shrubs, add a slow-release fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone and improve the soil with well-rotted manure.
Regular mowing is needed throughout the summer growing season. Try to cut the grass at least once every two weeks. Other tasks such as removing moss and weeds, seasonal feeding and watering may also be necessary to keep your lawn in tip-top condition. Falling leaves must be removed because otherwise the grass beneath will turn yellow and is vulnerable to disease. Re-seed any bald spots in the lawn.
Remove faded flowers
Snip-off spent blooms to keep plants looking attractive and encourage more flowers whether it is in containers, hanging baskets, beds or borders. This process is called dead-heading. If left, the flowers will produce seeds at the expense of new blooms and some, such as sweet peas, will stop flowering altogether. Many roses will keep flowering if you deadhead them regularly.
‘Grow like a weed’ is a common description for something that shoots up suddenly. Many weeds love summer sun and can quickly spread, making flower beds look untidy and neglected. Weeds are easiest to pull when they are young and small and when the soil is moist. It’s important to pull them as they steal nutrients and moisture from your plants. Try to get rid of them before they produce seeds. Weeds will only be able to grow if there is bare soil for them to colonise, so an easy way to prevent them is with a layer of mulch, such as bark chips. Mulch also shields the soil from the sun and prevents moisture loss.
And when you have tackled all the chores like weeding, don’t forget to keep your garden colourful by adding flowers that bloom in late summer. Summer bulbs, such as dahlia, are an excellent pick to add colour and drama all summer long as are some rose bushes. Bedding plants are widely available and good for filling gaps. These can be used almost anywhere from beds and borders to patio containers and hanging baskets. Annuals come in a range of colours from soft shades to very bright. Some of the best plants come in individual pots, often in flower. They can be expensive but ideal for instant splashes of colour, for example by the front door.