Early Summer has arrived, and no mistake, with frequent showers combined with higher temperatures it means perfect conditions for incredibly vigorous plant growth.
Unfortunately that includes the weeds as well! It’s not uncommon to feel that the garden is getting away from you at this time of year, but the trick is to keep plugging away, do what you can do, and soon enough the initial growth spurt settles down. Here are a few key things you can to help keep on top of things:
– Mow the lawn regularly, at least once a week if possible. If you can’t do it that often, just make sure you don’t leave it more than two weeks between cuts, thereby preventing weeds setting seed.
– Hoe the borders over. Don’t panic about pulling every little weed out, just break their stems, turn the soil and leave the weather to kill them off.
– Water your plants during dry periods, particularly potted plants and especially if they sit under the eaves of your house.
– Dead head flowers. This can often encourage re-flowering.
– Don’t waste your time tying up daffodil leaves. Wait 6 weeks after flowering and then chop or mow the leaves down.
Now is also the time to plant out bedding plants. These are the small colourful plants, usually they only last one season, but they’re not expensive and they provide a lovely splash of colour. Perhaps a few round the edge of the plant pots at your door? Plant them generously and treat them like any other plant, then at the end of the season just pull them out and chuck them on the compost. You’ll find a good choice at your local garden centre and these may be of better quality than the ones you find at some of the bigger non-specialist stores.
May is also the time to trim Privet hedges – these are the common type of hedge with small dark green leaves. Check them for birds’ nests first – it is illegal to disturb a bird’s nest. Don’t worry too much about cutting Privets too closely as they are good at regenerating, unlike some other kinds of hedge. And don’t forget to feed your hedge like any other plant – manure, compost or a granular or liquid feed all work fine.
And then don’t forget to sit outside with a cold drink and enjoy your hard work – this is why we do it all in the first place!
Thomas Angel is managing director of Thomas Angel Gardens Ltd (www.thomasangel.com)