Left to fend for themselves over the winter, our gardens now need a little TLC. But no one wants to be a slave to their outdoors plot, so here we bring you a range of top tips to create a hassle-free, but beautiful, garden this summer.
Feed me!: To give plants the best chance of budding, flowering and producing fruit this summer, make sure you feed them right now. Add shop bought feed, fertiliser or mulch, or, if you’ve been busy composting over the winter, you can dig in your very own compost to feed your plants.
Beat the slugs: Slugs and snails will start to launch their attacks on your plants very soon, if they haven’t started already. While no one wants to be cruel to slugs, they are a menace to plants and you’d be wise to deploy a few tactics to keep them off your beds and in pots. There are copper products that help to keep slugs at bay. A beer trap is another method. Or use volcanic rocks and gravel to stop the little creatures from getting near to your plants.
Leave the daffs: Although dying daffodils look unsightly it’s important that you do not cut them down right now. A daffodil needs to have stopped blooming for at least six weeks, before you take the cutters to them.
More blooms: The Chelsea chop is a clever way of creating the appearance of more blooms and helping some plants to bloom for longer. For example, phlox plants benefit from the Chelsea chop from the start of June. Cut the stems down by half, or cut them all to different heights. By cutting them back you slow down the booming and you also create a plant that flowers at different times. This way you’ll create a succession of blooms throughout the summer.
Spread it out: Go for flowering spreading plants in your beds. These will take up ground space and stop some of the weeds. The more ground that is covered by plants the less wedding you’ll need to do throughout the summer.
Short cuts: Pop a few cheaper but high-value flowering plants into your beds at the start of summer. These will be plants that might not last for many years to come but which will give you instant blooms this summer. For example, Lavatera is a good choice.
Take a leaf: Foliage is great for creating all summer long good looks. Choose plants that have different colours of foliage and lots of it. When your garden has fewer flowers on display, you’ll still have a wealth of interesting foliage to look at. Ferns and grasses make great choices.
Low maintenance: Choosing the right flowers and plants for the right spot in your garden will save a lot of heartache. Check out a plant selection guide to find out what plants suit shady areas, and which ones thrive in sunlight.
Bee friendly: Bees and butterflies are good for your garden so encourage them by planting pollinator plants.
Something tasty: Don’t forget that fruit and veg plants also look good in the garden – and they offer an extra tasty delight for your kitchen. Herbs also make a great choice for borders and pots. Herbs look and smell great.
High climber: If you’re looking for plants that offer height but wihtout waiting for years for them to grow, choose a cross between a climber and a shrub. Plants such as shrub roses and clematis will offer good height in very little time.
Decked out: Lawns require mowing and care, so why not give up some of the grass for a smart decked or patio area? This can double up as a dining area, too, and somewhere to host a fun summer barbecue.
Child friendly: If you have the space, give kids a section of the garden for fun and learning. Add a trampoline or a gang hut. Kids love to plant their own veg and flowers so you could create a smaller plot for them.
Added interest: If your garden is new and you’re still waiting for the plants and flowers to put on a big display, you could add a few interesting ornaments, a fountain or furniture and sheds painted in bright colours. Just let your imagination go, and see what a difference if can make to the look of your outdoors space.
Do you have any top summer garden tips to share?