Summer is great time to boost your outdoor space and make it more welcoming for garden parties and relaxing in the warmer weather. To help you along the way, start with these easy ideas. Then fire up the barbie, lie back on your lounger and enjoy the flowers and fruits of your labour...
Perk up your patio
Plant up pots, baskets and window boxes with summer flowers, and try mixing in some fruit or herbs to add a tasty note to your displays. Alpine strawberries are great choices for pots, or try tucking dark-leaved basil in with your blooms, as in this glazed pot (below), which also includes a beautiful fuchsia called ‘Thalia’, red petunias, and a pretty frill of lime-coloured Lysimachia aurea.
[Pic Credit: Brian North]
Sow some delicious veggie treats
Sow quick-maturing crops like radishes and lettuces every few weeks in pots or beds for a constant supply of delicious salad treats throughout summer. DT Brown has a great selection of seeds to choose from. Also think about planting out tender crops such as runner beans. To make sure the flowers turn into tender pods, spray them every few days with water, and ensure the soil never dries out.
Keep your shrubs in trim
Prune early spring-flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, kerria, flowering currants (Ribes) and Japanese quince (Chaenomeles) after they have bloomed. Cut stems just above a bud, and use sharp, clean secateurs or a pruning saw. If you want to squeeze more colour into your borders, remove the lower branches of bushy shrubs to create tree-like structures, allowing more light beneath for a lower layer of plants.
Whip out your weeds
Check your beds for weeds and remove them before they flower. Make sure when digging out perennial weeds, such as dandelions, nettles and dock, that you remove all the roots, or the plants will regrow in no time. Alternatively, dab some Roundup Ready to Use Weedkiller gel on the leaves, which will kill the whole plant.
Keep on mowing
Mow your lawn at least once a week, as it will be growing rapidly now that the weather has warmed up. Set the blades to about 1.5cm and for an even cut, mow first in one direction, and then again at 90° to the first cut. If we do have a sudden spell of dry weather (if only), reduce the mowing frequency, which will help to prevent the grass turning brown. Manicure your lawn regularly and it will soon look like the lush sward in this beautiful design by Russell Watkinson.
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Zia Allaway, Garden Expert
View all posts by Zia Allaway, Garden Expert