Sit back and enjoy something long and cool
Summer is when your hard work comes to fruition and you can enjoy the beauty of the greenery and flowers you’ve worked so hard to bring to maturity. But there are always jobs for the busy gardener, the least of which is mowing your lawn, and general lawn maintenance.
This is just the time to get that compost heap started. Don’t put woody things in it though, or brassica rubbish. Burn such things and add the ash to the heap. Remember all your organic kitchen rubbish is good, as are grass cuttings, dead headings and other leafy matter. Keep the heap under control within some sort of restraint such as chicken wire round four posts, or a brick or wooden wall on three sides. Build it up in layers at least 6 inches deep and water each well before adding the next layer. Activator helps get things moving, (see your garden centre), and turning the heap, sides to middle, also helps the process of decomposition.
Finished compost should be dark, soft, crumbly, and sweet smelling. When it’s ready, use it as a nourishing mulch, digging into the soil, or as a liner in planting holes for new shrubs and trees.
Dead-heading is essential for all continuously flowering plants throughout the summer. Roses especially must have the spent flowers removed or the strength of the plant will go into seed formation. Shrubs in general also benefit from dead flowers being removed. If you want some seeds leave just a few in place. For plants like dahlias, dead-heading is essential to encourage further blooming.
Constant weeding will of course be necessary all the time because weeds grow, no matter what the prevailing weather conditions.
Do remember to keep the greenhouse well ventilated even if the sun doesn’t appear too fierce. In between showers it can blast down with surprising intensity at this time of year and protection may well be necessary. If so, paint over the glass (on the inside) with whitewash to cut down on the danger of scorching. Again never water when the sun is on the foliage. And this applies to general watering. Do it late in the evening.
Water plentifully in one place rather than all over sparsely. Allow the water to fall on the plants in fine diffusion from a great height.
If you have a patio area, you could build a barbecue for family meals al fresco and outdoor summer entertaining when the weather allows.
A greenhouse is essential if you want to raise your own seedlings, cultivate exotic plants or keep delicate plants safe over winter. These come in a huge range of styles and sizes, and most can be erected without too many complications. It will at least give you the opportunity to do some gardening when the weather prevents you doing it outside!
Don’t forget a shed for all those gardening tools and implements. Much safer to keep them there than in the house. A shed also makes a good workshop or hobby room, so it could pay for itself in no time. Some sheds combine a summerhouse section as well, which is a nice feature to add to any garden.
Outside lighting is often overlooked in garden planning. It extends the hours you can enjoy the outdoors. It also makes an important contribution to the security of your home. Choose from a range of wall and stand mounted fittings. look for fittings that turn lights on when natural light begins to fade. There are also lights that respond to movement.
Open water is always attractive. Waterfalls and fountains are easy to establish. Pools and ponds have never been easier to put in using pre-formed polythene shells, sheeting or waterproof cement. A look round your local garden centre will show you what’s possible and available.
Whatever you do this summer, don’t neglect your garden. It can and should be a joy for all the family. A little planning and organisation will ensure it will be, for many years to come.