Summer is finally here, the sun is shining, and your garden is in full bloom. Your bedding plants and vegetable patch is well established, so in theory, now is a good time to sit back and enjoy your beautiful garden. Unfortunately, as any keen gardener knows, there are always plenty of jobs to do!
Plants, shrubs, and weeds grow quickly at this time of the year. A combination of sunshine and rain means your garden has everything it needs to grow at an alarming rate. If there is a period of zero rainfall, growth will slow down, but the typical British summer is usually a combination of heavy rain and periodic sunshine.
Deadheading flowers will prolong your summer display. Grab your secateurs and get into the habit of snipping off dead flower heads. This is not only good from an aesthetic perspective; it also keeps your flowering shrubs blooming for longer as nutrients are redirected back into the plant so new shoots can grow. Dead flowers also attract garden pests, so they are best removed.
Prune the Hedges
Keep your hedges under control and give them a firm trim once the nesting season is over in late July. Some hedges such as hawthorn and beech need a good prune at least twice a year or they soon begin to grow out of shape and start to look untidy. Conifer hedges will grow even faster, so be sure to keep on top of them during the summer, or you could end up with a hedge out of reach.
If you have lavender hedges, now is the perfect time to prune them back. Wait until your lavender has finished flowering and then trim the growth back. This will keep your lavender plants strong and healthy for another year.
Sow Autumn Vegetables
By August, the vegetable patch will be largely empty, so now is a good time to start planning for a few autumn and winter crops. Dig over any vacated sections of your veggie patch and add some fertiliser or compost. Sew winter onions, radishes, and spinach for a tasty autumn crop.
Weed and Feed the Lawn
Give your tired lawn a generous dose of weed and feed to promote new growth and keep the pesky weeds at bay. Be careful not to mow your grass too short during hot spells, as this low grass has little protection from the hot sun and will soon die. Dead patches of grass encourage weeds to take root and prosper, which is the last thing you need.
Separate Shrubs and Fruit Trees
Do you have a few large and unruly shrubs? If so, dig them up and divide them into smaller clumps. Prune away any dead parts and then replant in different locations around the garden. It is a good time to thin out your fruit trees, too, as this ensures a healthier crop.
Your garden will need more water at this time of the year, but restrict your watering to cooler times, such as early in the morning or in the evening. Watering plants in full sun will scorch tender buds and leaves, and the soil will dry out before the water has a chance to reach the roots.