Summer is the time to enjoy all of the hard work you’ve put into your garden throughout the year, but there are still jobs to be done to maintain it for the whole season
With July often one of the hottest months, keeping your garden well-watered is a high priority, as is making it a home for birds, insects and animals alike. We’ve rounded up ten pointers to get you started and make the most of everything your garden has to offer.
1. Revive flowers
Deadhead annual and perennial flowers to encourage more buds to be produced, as plants will naturally try to re-seed. Roses in particular respond well to deadheading and this will help to prolong their summer blooming period. Remember to open the windows and doors in greenhouses to allow cooler air to circulate on very hot days, too.
2. Prune the plants
Stainless steel secateurs, £29.99; compost scoop, £14.99; hand trowel, £9.99; floral gloves, from £8.99, all Dobbies
Prune hanging baskets to encourage further growth and make sure the soil doesn’t dry out during the summer months. Water daily during hot periods or use water-retaining granules to help the soil stay damp for longer.
3. Mow your grass
As part of your lawn maintenance, adjust your mower blade to allow the grass to remain a little longer, this will help the ground retain moisture and keep the lawn healthy. Cutting the grass too short can make it more susceptible to drought and may cause bare patches during warmer weather.
4. Water the plants
Raspberry watering can, £16.95, Annabel James
Create a watering rota to ensure containers are watered daily and bed plants twice a week (more in very hot weather). Ideally, water plants in the evening when there is less chance of evaporation loss and the soil is dry from the day’s heat so it will be absorbed easily. Plan ahead and make sure flowers such as azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias are well-watered now to make sure they produce their spring blooms next year.
5. Use mulch
Assorted plant pots, from £3.99, Wyevale Garden Centres
Use mulch around the base of plants to help retain water which will protect the roots in extreme temperatures and prevent new weeds from growing. Biodegradable mulches will gradually break down and the nutrients will work their way into the soil, whereas non-biodegradable mulches, such as shingle or slate, protect the soil and appear more decorative.
6. Freeze herbs
Pick herbs now to be dried or frozen for use in the winter months. If freezing, make sure the leaves are dry and research the best way to harvest specific species to make sure they’re able to regrow successfully.
7. Maintain your pond
Clear blanket weeds from the surface of ponds and water features, to allow more oxygen into the water. When removing pond weeds, leave them by the side for at least 24 hours to allow any creatures to crawl back into the water. Top up water levels if necessary during hot weather, but remember to use collected rainwater where possible as tap water can affect the chemical balances.
8. Welcome bees
Help the bees to pollinate by welcoming them into your garden. Sow and care for plants such as lavender, bergamot, jasmine, hollyhock, snapdragons and cornflower. Try to keep these plants in open areas to avoid long grasses or bushes from brushing the pollen off bees as they fly away.
9. Look after birds
Georgian bird bath, £399, Haddonstone
Keep bird baths topped up during the summer months, as the water is more likely to evaporate in the hot weather. Every few weeks, pour away the stagnant water and use a disposable rag to remove any debris. Always make sure the level isn’t more than three-inches deep at the centre of the bath and ideally its should be shallower at the edges to keep the birds safe.
10. Let it grow
Avoid cutting back trees or hedges until the end of summer, as these are popular nesting sites for lots of birds between March and September. There are laws in place to avoid gardeners damaging nesting sites so check the RSPB website for more details.