The recent rain has given us something of a reprieve in the garden following those few days of baking hot weather that gave us just a small taste of what summer will bring the garden. So make the most of it now because with a bit of preparation you’ll save your garden from struggling come late summer.
Think of all those times you’ve spent a hot day out in the garden and after a time you’ve decided that “It’s a bit hot, I might go inside to cool down”. Well, now think how your garden feels? While you’re inside with a nice cold drink, or flapping away under the air-conditioning to cool yourself, your poor plants could well be roasting outside. But you can help them to survive and even thrive under the worst that summer might throw at them.
With the moisture still locked in the ground if you haven’t already put some mulch down onto your garden beds then get busy –it’s important not to let this moisture go and your trees and shrubs will thank you for it. If it does dry out before you have a chance to mulch, don’t panic, just fork it over to break up the hard crust and give it a good hose. Think of mulch as a kind of air-con for your trees, locking the moisture into the ground and keeping roots nice and cool over the hot summer months. Remember to leave a little space between the trunk and the mulch as collar rot can develop if it’s too close.
The freshness of spring is now behind us but the garden can remain vibrant with a bit of groundwork. Adding lots of organic matter and mulching early will give you an easier time of it later on. And if you did mulch early, check to make sure the soil is cool and damp underneath and top up any patchy areas you see –no more than about 50-80mm depending on the type of mulch.
Small regular feeds are the way to go over summer –I usually give everything a dose of seaweed solution every couple of weeks. The heat will slow growth down but it’s still important to keep the watering up at this time of year and not let your garden dry out (Although it does sound silly with all this rain we’ve been having of late!).
And it’s a great time, now that the spring growth has ended, to give everything in your garden a light trim and tidy for Christmas. Trim hedges and topiary which will just about see them through to autumn and any trees that have finished flowering can also be pruned and have branches removed to maintain a nice compact shape. A complete tree removal and any dead-wooding can also be undertaken anytime throughout the summer but be careful not to rob yourself of any autumn leaf colour.
Remember, it’s as good an opportunity now as any to prepare for the coming of the hot weather.