Gardening tips for summer
With the summer months firmly established, many people up and down the country will be celebrating by taking it easy on a deck chair outdoors - or looking after the children and grandchildren playing outdoors.
However, for the gardening enthusiast, the warmer temperatures offer the best opportunity to really get to grips with a favourite pastime.
Others can benefit from this too. For instance, good weather makes for ideal mowing conditions - and family and friends will no doubt appreciate the tidy and pleasant scenery if you invite them round for a barbecue.
July and August are typically the hottest months of the year, which means that watering is essential. Use grey water wherever possible, as water could run low in dry summers.
If you are going away for a holiday, see if you can get friends or family members to keep the garden ticking over while you are away.
When you are at home, essential tasks such as pruning summer-flowering shrubs are not to be overlooked. Here are some other top tips for the summer months.
If you are growing plants in a greenhouse, then be sure to keep vents and doors open on particularly warm days to improve air circulation.
Tender perennials such as fuchsias, coleus, pelargoniums, marguerites will need to have cuttings taken from them, while things like tomatoes will require regular watering to stop them drying out.
Drying out is a bit of a danger in hot weather, as it can lead to split fruits and blossom end rot - so it is best to avoid the situation with plenty of watering.
Looking after flowers
For plants that produce seeds, like aquilegias, sweet peas and love-in-a-mist, choose a dry day to collect seeds as they ripen.
Rambling roses and other climbers will need to be pruned. Be sure to remove up to a third of the stems that have flowered - and tie the rest to supports.
You can also encourage growth in dahlias and other perennials by deadheading them, which can help to ensure a constant display of blooms.
In terms of general garden maintenance, don't forget to compost kitchen waste. Decomposition can be aided by chopping up and mixing the contents together.
Conifers and other hedges will need to be trimmed - and don't forget to scoop out any floating pondweed and algae from pools and other water features.
Laurel hedges are best off being cut with secateurs - rather than a hedgetrimmer - as this can reduce the risk of half-cut turning brown.
If you are going away, you can ensure plants have enough water by setting up a capillary matting system.
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