The great outdoors
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Jackie Hunt has worked as the gardener and estate manager at the award-winning Turn End gardens in Haddenham, Bucks, since 2010. Previously she was a gardener for the National Trust and ran her own garden design and maintenance business. She also has an Masters in furniture design, (nothing to do with gardening I know but I find that mightily impressive!).
Here are her top 5 tips for July gardens.
1. Keep pots, hanging baskets and new plants well watered
The sun is out and your plants are thirsty! Make sure they have enough water, and also feed them regularly with a liquid feed (I love organic seaweed feed). Try to be water wise – use grey recycled water or rainwater where you can. It’s best to give plants a really good soak occasionally rather than a little often – thorough watering will encourage roots to grow deeply to search for water. Move pots into a shadier spot if you will be away for a few days. It is particularly important to ensure vegetables get a regular, consistent supply of water to aid healthy development, help avoid diseases, disorders and bolting.
2. Keep dead-heading bedding plants and repeat flowering perennials
It can feel like a thankless task but it’s important to do it to encourage a new flush of flowers – I find it a great excuse to get up close to our gorgeously scented roses (pictured).
3. Clear algae, debris and blanket weed from ponds
Warm weather and nutrients from falling leaves and petals encourages algae to bloom, so try to keep on top of the problem. Also keep ponds and bird baths topped up, as the sun can quickly evaporate water.
4. Keep looking after your lawns
Mow regularly, except in drought. If it is warm and sunny, set the mower at a slightly higher level than normal. This makes the lawn more tolerant to infrequent watering and drought because of increased moisture reserves in the leaf tissue and root system. Taller grass also helps smother out weeds and makes the lawn appear more even and attractive! We try not to water except in extreme drought and we accept a few dry, brown patches – they will recover when the autumn rains arrive.It is also the last time to apply a fast-acting liquid summer lawn fertiliser, especially if a spring feed was not given.
5. Enjoy your garden!
July has already got off to a gorgeous start weatherwise, so enjoy your hard work! Order bulb catalogues, take a seat and start planning next spring’s bulbs, to plant this autumn.