Happy holidays for your garden

Dahlia
Dahlia

JULY’S a great time to enjoy your garden - the weather is normally good and the best of your flowers will be in bloom.

It’s the time of year that gardens or patios become an extension of our day-to-day living space as we use them for entertaining and relaxing in. It’s also the start of the holiday season when we tend to leave our gardens to fend for themselves a bit.

But, a little thought before you go away and some tender loving care when you return will ensure that all your hard gardening work doesn’t go to waste!

It’s always a good idea to water carefully during the hot summer months to ensure your garden doesn’t suffer from dehydration. Conserve water and help plants in the summer by moving pots out of the sun into the shade, water the area directly above the roots and use water-retaining gel in the soil and, when possible, water in the evenings so it has time to soak in overnight and use grey water (from your bath or washing up) whenever you can.

If you are going on holiday then think about a simple self watering system that will keep your container plants going in your absence. Make a few holes in the lid of a plastic water bottle, cut off the bottom of the bottle, turn upside down into the plant compost and then fill with water (which slowly drips into the soil).

Entertaining outside comes into its own in July and if you haven’t the space or time to grow your own salad vegetables, then think about a small herb garden or container herb garden. With just one £50 National Garden Gift Voucher you can create a culinary patch that will look good and taste even better! Most common herbs like sunny parts of the garden and are at their best now. Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and chives are happy in borders or pots, although it’s advisable to keep mint in a contained environment as it likes to spread out and can take over.

If cut flowers rather than herbs are more your thing then there is nothing better than the splendour and vibrancy of the dahlia. Originally from Mexico, dahlias flower from July through to the first frosts in the Autumn and range from dwarf bedding varieties to the popular giant flower heads that adorn gardens around the country. They can be used as bedding plants and border plants and can be added to a mixed border alongside herbaceous perennials like Phlox, Aster and Sedum. Dahlias thrive in any well drained soil and like plenty of sunlight but will need Winter protection in most parts of the UK. Their warm vibrant colours mean that they are often grown as cut flowers and they regularly feature at local horticultural society shows due to their late summer flowering.

The long warm days of July mean more time spent in the garden with just a few jobs that can be done at leisure …

Water regularly

Support tall plants and flowers with stakes

Keep on top of weeding

Don’t forget to deadhead

Keep an eye out for pests (they don’t go on holiday!)

Feed your plants

Look after the lawn

Harvest your fruit and veg