What it is to enjoy a nice spell of settled weather. There's no better place to be on a sunny day than the U.K., and as you sit in the garden on a balmy summer's evening enjoying your iced drink, I hope you are reaping the benefits of your earlier hard work. The sights and scents and sounds brought together by your planning and planting more than reward you for the hours of digging, weeding, feeding and spraying! It's a good time to see any obvious omissions or errors - are there any colours clashing or missing? could you introduce more leaf forms or
colours? - make a note for the Autumn campaign.
What about the structure of the garden, what we call the "hard landscaping"? Patio, Pergola, Trellis, Water Features - all add interest and enjoyment and now is the time to plan any additions or alterations. Is the Patio in the right place for sun or shade, have you room for a second contrasting seating area in another part of the garden? Perhaps a Pergola would provide a welcome area of shade, and at the same time provide the height to mask an unsightly, adjacent building or structure, and what about the relaxing sound of running water be it a simple pebble pool or a pond with cascades and fish?
There is so much you can do now to make your gardens enjoyable and individual. Do the children have enough room to play? Should they have a dedicated area surfaced with woodchip or bark to save the chore of moving the swings and slides each time you mow the lawn? If you're beyond that stage, what can you do to make the garden easier to manage? We've now followed couples through their entire life building sand pits and play areas, turning them into ponds and water features and then again into raised planters for ease of maintenance. Gardens need to change with a family's changing needs and lifestyle, and never be afraid to grasp the nettle (excuse the pun!) and do what's required to make your garden suit your particular needs.
The Patio is probably the most important area of the garden so we'll discuss this next time and follow on with other ideas in future months, so e-mail any questions or queries and I will incorporate them in the Ramblings.
Just a few topical tips to finish with - don't forget the watering of newly planted shrubs and trees, it's so important, and if you're going on holiday do get a neighbour or friend to help out. Dead heading everything from Busy Lizzies to Roses will help to ensure stronger healthier plants and a succession of fresh flowers. Watch out for garden pests - there are many environmentally friendly pesticides on the market now which don't harm beneficial insects. In particular check for notching on the edges of leaves which can be an indication of the dreaded vine weevil. This has become a real pest in recent years and is very active through the summer laying eggs producing voracious larvae, which go on to devour the roots of plants weakening or killing them in the course of time. There are now insecticides available to tackle this pest, and also predators which can be sprinkled onto the soil or compost to devour the larvae and eliminate it.
Remember as the ground becomes drier raise the cutting height on the mower to give the grass a chance, or you may destroy it completely giving moss and weeds an advantage.
Now, I must pour another drink - Cheers - see you next month!