With the fabulous weather we have had in April and May, borders by now should be full of life whether it be a later flowering shrub or some early flushes of colour from the herbaceous plants. You will find it’s also a busy time in the garden for shrub and hedge cutting. Most flowering shrubs flower on last year’s growth so generally speaking once they have finished flowering you need to tidy them up with a cut back if needed so they have the rest of the summer to get growing in preparation for next year. Hedges can be cut back as well now, again flowering hedges and semi-formal hedges like Escallonia will appreciate a cut to tidy them up and sometimes get a second flush of colour later in the year. And more formal hedges like Conifer or Beech can be tided up to. With formal hedges the more often you cut them the better structure and coverage you will get. A Conifer cut two or three times a year will always look better and thicker and Beech and Hornbeam far more dense and healthy. Now the chance of frost has passed summer bedding will be a wash at the garden centres, it seems every year the choice and variety gets bigger. Summer bedding is the best way to add a sprinkle of colour to any part of the garden or outside area, everybody has their favourite whether it be Begonias, Geraniums, Petunias or Impatiens many people also grow their vegetables for summer colour whether it be in the borders or pots. Runner beans are very attractive especially the bi colours you can even get dwarf varieties which look good in pots, hanging baskets can be filled with Surfinas, Ivy Leaf Geraniums or Lobelias but again many people grow Strawberry’s and Tomatoes which bring their own rich colours through their fruit and flowers.
Jobs to Do
Weeds will be trying to set seed! don’t let them, keep weeding
Plant the summer bedding out in pots, baskets and the borders
Sow small amounts of seeds like Lettuce and Carrots regularly so you don’t get a glut
Get supports in place for taller perennials and border plants
Get any structures for climbing beans up and secure
Protect your crops or insects, birds, slugs and others will soon help themselves
Keep watering and newly planted shrubs and tree
Down the Plot
In days gone by the popular way to grow veg was in the borders with your bedding plants with the added benefit that the flowers of the bedding bringing more pollinating insects. I feel it also brings more depth and structure to beds and is a productive way of using borders if you don’t have space for a veg plot. Your Potatoes should be up to your knees, Carrots ready to thin out and as the weather has been good, a glut of early salad leaves. Now is the time you can hopefully sit back slightly and enjoy all your hard work over the winter/spring. Almost all seeds can be sown direct outdoors now, and don’t forget to do some successional sowing to avoid gluts. Don’t forget the wildlife in your garden this time of year often the young of most animals will have been born and are venturing out into the big bad world, the birds will always appreciate seed or fat balls and a bowl of water or a bird bath will provide water to wash in and drink, if you think you may have a little brood of foxes at the bottom of the garden there is no harm in leaving a little treat out for them. I know my children love leaving a little chunk of cheese out for the mouse that lives under the shed! And why not, we all share our gardens with hundreds of creatures from the microscopic to the butterflies and this bio-diversity is what creates a living breathing garden.
We have some great new Interviews on the website from BBC Gardeners World Nick Bailey, Organic Growing God Bob Flowerdew and Gardeners Question Time Favourite Pippa Greenwood. Just go to www.thevillagegrapevine.co.uk and click on Who’s On The Grapevine
That’s all for now and remember enjoy your garden