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My top tip for summer gardening…

 

 

I was recently asked to write a few words about summer gardening and so I thought I would share that with you:

The Summer can be the hardest season of all for gardening. After the rush of growth in late spring, keeping up with all the jobs to do to keep the garden looking just ‘right’ can seem like an uphill battle. There’s the weeding, the watering, the dead heading, the pruning, mowing, edging, hedge trimming, tying-in and more and more watering. The ground is often too hard to work and there’s always something you forgot to stake, by which time it is too late.

Then you have to contend with the ants, bees and horseflies, slugs, snails, rabbits, chickens and in some gardens even deer.

Children playing games and diving into the borders after lost balls and dogs digging holes and the neighbours cats – well I won’t even go there…

The sweltering heat and relentless sun can burn you up and slow you right down.

Then family and friends are outside enjoying being in the garden. Eating drinking and admiring your handiwork and all you can see are the jobs that still need to be done.

My top tip for summer gardening is stop look and listen. Sense the lingering perfumes on the air and the breeze wafting through the leaves and petals. See the light shining through all the different greens and coloured petals. Just enjoy the remarkable detail and structure nature has created from the tallest tree to the tiniest weed.

This is the most important thing to do in a gardeners year, as all too soon it is gone.

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We have been enjoying the roses and the little Erigeron this week,

whilst spending plenty of time weeding.

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Bea and Pauline are still happy even after a very hot day, I love these girls!

Pauline was in the greenhouse today staking tomatoes, here are her tips

 

 

Make time for your flowers now as some don’t last for long

 

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The First days of Summer

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Today we had a delivery of mushroom compost – basically  a year old horse manure that has had mushrooms growing in it. Good  for keeping down the weeds, not particularly high in nutrients and also good for helping the soil retain moisture during the summer months.

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Not so much fun and games getting covered in horse poo from head to foot:

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Other highlights of the day – The London pride is flowering and so are the wonderful foxgloves:

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OMG Why is that bed so weedy again?

Oh no it’s not weeds, it’s Forget- me -not seedlings and they are everywhere.

Annually this is a problem for us. We love them when they are flowering in Spring and hate them when they are over. We pull up all the blackened plants that are dying back (very easy to pull out) but then the seeds get stuck on our gloves and clothes and start irritating those of us with sensitive skin.  We can’t FORGET about them  though, as the seeds start germinating very soon after.  We keep on weeding them out and then more grow.  Eventually they win, they start to take hold and we give up.

This is our solution this year:

 

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Pruning Rosa ‘Charles de Mills’

Gallica Roses are old roses, compact shrubs with wonderfully scented blooms. They usually only have one flush of flowers during the summer that lasts about 3-6 weeks. They can then be pruned after flowering.  The flowers next year will grow from this years new growth.

Here is a short demonstration:

 

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Tidying an Autumnal border – Condensed!

More simple tasks in a late summer garden

I love this time of year when our weekly jobs move on from weeding and dead-heading to thinking how we can increase our stock of plants by division and propagation.

We also continue to nurture recently planted specimens to grow where we want them rather than purely letting nature take its course.

Here are two videos to watch of jobs we are doing this week:

Propagation by division:

Potting on Foxglove seedlings and training-in the Passion Flower:

Simple tasks in the garden that can make a difference at this time of year

Today I decided to cut back the Ivy in my back yard and make my first film as a presenter – it can only get better!

Dead-heading Dahlias

The head-liners of the border right now are the Dahlias.  They will flower their little hearts out until the first frost.  We still have at least a month down here in the south of England, to enjoy them, providing we keep on top of the dead-heading. We tend to do this twice a week  but can get away with once a week.

We cut them when the outer petals are looking scruffy, as Emma demonstrates in the following video.  However if you leave the flowers longer and the petals drop off, sometimes it is difficult to identify which are new buds coming and which are over.  There is a simple method of identifying the new buds from those that have gone over:

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Between the 2 flowers of Dahlia Honka above, there is a new bud coming which is round.

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And here you can see (top left) a flower on the same plant that is over and is slightly longer and more pointed.  So off with its head!

 

 

September brings a romantic light to the garden

The sun is lower in the sky and starts to back light the leaves and flowers still in bloom. The lime green foliage sings out with greater impact against darker shadows.  Temperatures are cooler increasing  our enthusiasm, energy and motivation.

Still we are not restricted by layers of clothing to ward off the cold.  This is all good as Autumn is a busy and physically challenging season.  So much to cut back and compost or burn, plants to dig up and divide so they can put on more root growth before the winter strikes. This is soon followed by barrowing mulch around the garden to protect certain plants and bulbs from wintery conditions.

Today we made  a start on a rather over-grown border by the moat.  More pressing tasks have drawn us away from this area for too long.

Personally, I love seeing the beautiful dark soil exposed again and once more framing the last blooms of summer.

This video is a before and after shot of our days work.  Unfortunately not as obviously as I would like…you really should have  been there!

And this is our last views of the garden today:

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