How does your garden grow?

With summer nearly here, it is time to reap the rewards of the busy spring gardening season Sam Funnell from Fine & Country Rugby gives a few tips on getting the most out of your garden.

There are always tasks that need to be undertaken to keep gardens in good shape, but in summer, these tend to require less effort, leaving plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying your garden.

Sometimes it’s just not possible to do everything you want to do, but some fresh mulch and strategically placed flowering plants can give your garden an immediate lift. Hanging baskets and pots provide a great way to freshen up patios and entrances. While colour is important, also consider flowers that scent the garden, especially in the evenings. These include honeysuckle, jasmine and evening primrose. Many Viburnums are highly scented, too, and are easy to grow, requiring little or no maintenance.

Keep your lawn long, especially in the hotter months. Lengthy grass will wear better and deter weeds. Keeping the edges neat is enough to ensure your garden continues to look well-tended. When the hot weather really kicks in, watering becomes more important. Watering in the morning is the most efficient, but if this is not possible, leave it to the cool in the evening. Soaker hoses provide an efficient way to water, rather than sprinklers.

Plants in tubs, especially terracotta ones, can dry out very quickly, but it is important to avoid placing them in saucers of water as this encourages root rot. If plants do dry out, standing the pot in a bucket of water for 30 minutes will rehydrate it. Filling the saucers with sand and keeping the sand moist will help keep the roots cool in very hot weather and feeding them every two weeks or so will prolong their growing life. Similarly, feeding established plants can give them a boost, which in turn will lead to them producing more flowers and growth. This can be achieved quite easily with a good slow-release fertiliser.

To gain full enjoyment from your summer garden, treat it as an outdoor room and furnish it accordingly. In a large garden, find a quiet shady spot for a comfy chair and side table to enjoy relaxing and reading. Nowadays, outdoor settings come in such an array of sizes and materials that one can be found to fit any space. New materials also mean furniture will survive the outdoor elements. This extends to soft furnishings, with cushions being used to add drama and colour. Long summer evenings encourage eating al fresco and simple candle and floral decorations create a wonderful ambience.

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